Backed by nearly half of the Senate’s Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wa.) are introducing revamped legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 and index it to inflation.
The Raise the Wage Act of 2017, which Sanders and Murray will unveil later today, would hike the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, raising it to $9.25 immediately, and inching it up to $15 by 2024, while simultaneously raising the minimum wage for tipped workers.
With Republicans in control of Congress, the bill is largely a messaging vehicle, with no chance of passage. But its support from the conference is the latest example of the Democratic Party’s leftward shift since the defeat of 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The last version of the Sanders bill, 2015’s Pay Workers a Living Wage Act, had just five co-sponsors. The new bill counts 22 co-sponsors, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Just two years ago, Schumer resisted the $15 minimum wage proposal, instead co-sponsoring Murray’s legislation for a $12 wage — “a winner issue for us,” according to Schumer.
More From The Hill:
Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) will drop a companion bill in the House. Ellison has previously pushed for $15 an hour, while Scott joined Murray in calling for a $12 minimum wage hike last Congress.
The $15 minimum wage bill stands little chance of passing in a Republican-controlled Congress, but could put pressure on GOP lawmakers to stand up for workers.
Sanders and the Democrats will rally Wednesday outside the Capitol building with a group of striking workers. The low-wage federal workers claim President Trump’s labor policies have started a “war on workers.”
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