Sen. Sanders Introduces Bill to Raise Federal Minimum Wage to $15/Hour

Michael W. Chapman | January 16, 2019 | 4:18pm EST
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
(Getty Images)

( -- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described Socialist, introduced legislation today to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, a step that was denounced as a jobs killer by the small business non-profit advocacy group Job Creators Network

"It is not a radical idea -- Speaker Pelosi made this point -- it is not a radical idea to say we should have an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just the people on top," Sanders said at a Capitol Hill press conference.  "The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. Last time Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage was 12 years ago. ... In this country, we are going to have a minimum wage that is a living wage of $15 bucks an hour."

In a press release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “A $15 federal minimum wage affirms the bedrock idea of fairness in our country: that hard work deserves a decent wage. We will open up opportunities for working families and drive economic growth that lifts up all communities – because our economy works best when it works for everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged few."

Sanders' bill, the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, is co-sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.). 

"The bill would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, index future minimum wage increases to median wage growth and ensure all workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by phasing out the subminimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers and workers with disabilities," states Sen. Sanders' website.

Objecting to the proposal, the Job Creators Network (JCN) released an ad on Wednesday pushing for "higher skills" for America's workers and not "job killing mandates."

Raising the minimum wage 106% from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour does not "provide people with the skills to have $50,000 careers," said the JCN. "They simply hurt those seeking an entry-level job."


"Entry-level jobs are rungs on the ladder to careers that pay $50,000, like firefighter, plumber, mechanic, healthcare tech, and restaurant manager," said the JCN. "And many of those careers don't require a college degree. Let's raise the wage ceiling, not the wage floor. To get a good job, you need a first job."

“This [bill] will throw cold water on a hot job market that is already producing higher wages,” said JCN President and CEO Alfredo Ortiz in a Jan. 14 statement. “A $15 minimum wage will price many entry-level workers out of the job market. The result will be fewer jobs and lower wages.”

(Job Creators Network)

“Employers who can’t absorb the additional labor cost have no choice but to reduce hours for employees,” said Ortiz. “It was very predictable, and the same thing will happen on a national scale if this bill passes.”

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