WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) joined House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and incoming Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT), incoming Senate HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) to introduce legislation gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025.
The Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 over five years. Thereafter, the federal minimum wage would be indexed to median wage growth. The legislation also guarantees that all workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by gradually phasing out the subminimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities.
“I've worked for minimum wage, and I was once a young, single dad, raising my son and having to balance work, family life and a checkbook. Back then it was hard. Today, in the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis, it's impossible,” said Congressman Norcross. “No American who works full-time should live in poverty. But that’s exactly what’s happening all around us. Raising the minimum wage is the crucial first step for our economy to truly and equitably build back better.”
Congress has not increased the federal minimum wage in more than a decade – the longest stretch since it was first established in 1938.
According to an independent analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, the Raise the Wage Act would increase wages for nearly 32 million Americans, including roughly a third of all Black workers and a quarter of all Latino workers. More than half of those who would benefit would be women.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the $7.25 federal minimum wage was economically and morally indefensible. Now, the pandemic is highlighting the gross imbalance between the productivity of our nation’s workers and the wages they are paid. Many of the essential workers who have braved a public health crisis to keep food on the table and care for our loved ones are still not being paid enough to provide for themselves or their families. Today, a full-time worker cannot afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment in any county in the U.S.,” said Chairman Scott. “Around the country, Americans across the political spectrum have repeatedly supported raising the minimum wage. In November, more than 60 percent of voters in Florida voted to increase the state minimum wage. The Raise the Wage Act is a critical step toward lifting hardworking people out of poverty, addressing income inequality, and building back a better economy where everyone can succeed.”
“Let’s be clear. The $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” said Senator Sanders. “No person in America can make it on $8, $10, or $12 an hour. In the United States of America a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it. We must raise the minimum wage to a living wage – at least $15 an hour. And when we do that, not only will we be lifting millions of Americans out of poverty, we will be providing a raise to nearly 32 million workers. We can no longer tolerate millions of workers not being able to afford to feed their families or pay the rent. The time for talk is over. No more excuses. It is time for Congress to act to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.”
“The coronavirus pandemic and economic crises have pulled back the veil on the unconscionable economic disparities that working women, low-income families and other vulnerable communities have faced for decades,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “By re-introducing the Chair Bobby Scott’s Raise the Wage Act, which passed on a bipartisan basis in the previous Congress, the Democratic Congress is taking another strong and long-needed step to honor the dignity, dedication and contributions of millions of hard-working Americans. This legislation is a key part of Democrats’ commitment to not only recover from these crises, but to Build Back Better – and to do so in a way that advances justice, prosperity and equality for all Americans.”
“Americans working 40 hours a week should be able to put food on the table and a roof over their families’ heads, but with the minimum wage stuck at $7.25, far too many are working hard and still in poverty,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is one step Congress should take right now, particularly with the COVID-19 crisis stretching families’ resources further than ever. I am happy to move forward with this group to make it happen and give the American people a raise.”
“Throughout this pandemic, Democrats and Republicans alike have joined together in rightly calling our frontline workers ‘heroes.’ But despite their tireless work and the risk of COVID exposure, too many of these workers are paid wages so low, they can’t afford to pay for even their most basic needs. And because of systemic inequities and discrimination, workers of color, and in particular, women of color, are much more likely to be paid poverty-level wages,” said Senator Murray, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “Democrats are asking for $15 an hour, because no one working 40 hours a week, should be making $15,000 a year. If we’re committed to an economy that works for everyone, we need one fair, livable wage for everyone—and that includes workers with disabilities, tipped workers and youth workers. We won’t accept carve-outs and we won’t accept leaving anyone behind.”
For fact sheet on Raise the Wage Act, click here.
For the section-by-section of the Raise the Wage Act, click here.
For the bill text of the Raise the Wage Act, click here.