But the effort faces steep hurdles in the Senate, including likely opposition from North Carolina Republicans Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, who have opposed previous efforts to raise the minimum wage.
House Democrats are planning to hold a floor vote on the Raise the Wage Act in July, according to Mariel Saez, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). “Democrats ran on raising wages for American workers, and this remains a top priority for us,” Saez said.
The bill, whose lead sponsor is House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.), would boost the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which was approved by Congress in 2007 and went into effect in 2009.
The legislation cleared Scott’s committee in March and is expected to easily pass the full House. North Carolina Democrats Alma Adams, G. K. Butterfield and David Price are among the bill’s 205 cosponsors.
Adams, who is a member of the Education and Labor Committee and chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee, issued a statement after the committee approved the measure back in March in which she lauded the legislation:
“Today is a day that was a long time in coming – I am proud that the Committee on Education and Labor approved a proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. During 20 1/2 years in the North Carolina General Assembly, I fought for our state’s minimum wage to increase to $6.15. Never would I have thought that 13 years later, Congress would have to act to raise the minimum wage from $7.25. By passing the Raise the Wage Act, we are sending the message that if you work a full-time job, you should be entitled to the dignity of a fair wage. I look forward to seeing this landmark legislation come to the floor and be approved by the full House of Representatives.”
Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator and 2020 presidential contender, has introduced the Senate version of the House minimum wage bill.
“Just a few short years ago, we were told that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was ‘radical.’ But a grassroots movement of millions of workers throughout this country refused to take ‘no’ for an answer,” he said in a statement.
“It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it. The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be increased to a living wage of $15 an hour.”
He’s not alone in the field of Democratic presidential contenders. Nearly all of those vying for the party’s 2020 nomination have endorsed the $15 minimum wage.
“Polling earlier this year suggested that most registered voters would support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
If Congress ultimately boosts the minimum wage to $15 per hour, more than 1.6 million North Carolinians could directly benefit. The Workers Rights Project of the North Carolina Justice Center (the parent organization of NC Policy Watch) reported in March that: Read more