Why Democrats want to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025
- Democrats are proposing raising the federal
minimum wagefrom $7.25 to $15 by 2025.
- The gradual increase would help businesses and lower-wage areas adjust to a higher minimum.
- In some states, $15 is more than double the current rate — just 29 states have rates above the federal minimum.
There's been a lot of discussion around raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Currently, there's two possible routes for Democrats to pass the wage hike: as a standalone bill or through reconciliation. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has indicated that reconciliation - where the bill could pass with only Democrats' votes in the Senate - is his preferred route.But both versions of passing the increase would see the minimum wage get to $15 only gradually, after several years. Under the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, the minimum wage would gradually increase to $15 until 2025. Then it would be indexed to median wage growth.
When Biden recently reiterated his support for the measure at a CNN town hall, he stressed the importance of a gradual increase. He also reportedly told governors the increase likely won't be included in his stimulus package."President Biden campaigned on the promise of a $15-per-hour minimum wage, and to hear him backpedal on that promise and propose a gradual increase over time is disheartening," Cynthia Murray, a Walmart worker for over 20 years and member leader with United for Respect, wrote in a statement to Insider. "We know that $15 an hour is the bare minimum of what workers need to survive."
So why a gradual increase?
Ben Zipperer, an economist at the Economic
However, that's not the case in many states. Currently, 16 states have the same minimum wage as the federal rate of $7.25, and five default to the federal minimum. That means just 29 states have rates above the federal minimum.
Minimum wages have stayed low for a long time
Broadly, Zipperer said, minimum wage increases used to be more frequent and roughly track the productivity of the
And while a
When it comes to workers like Murray expressing disappointment over how long it'll take to actually receive that raise, Zipperer said he "can't disagree with that." Groups like
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