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Senator Sanders, Congressional Progressive Caucus Introduce Bill to Raise Federal Minimum Wage to $15

WASHINGTON—Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) and 28 of their colleagues introduced the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act today, which raises the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Details on the bill can be found here. A letter signed by over two-hundred economists support of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 can be found here.

 “In the year 2015, a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it.  The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised to a living wage," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

“In the richest nation on Earth, full-time work should be compensated with more than a never-ending struggle to make ends meet,” Rep. Grijalva said. “We believe in the dignity of hard work – we should demand the dignity of fair compensation, too. Every American forced to accept less than their worth for labor is an American who cannot contribute fully to our economy, which is why Congress should pass the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act immediately.”

“When I’m on picket lines around the country, people tell me they’re protesting because they’re working harder than ever and still can’t make ends meet,” Rep. Ellison said. “The Progressive Caucus stands in solidarity with the working Americans putting in longer hours and seeing smaller paychecks. In the richest nation in the world, no business should be able to pay so little their workers are forced to find second and third jobs to feed their kids. The Pay Workers a Living Wage Act will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and ensure hard work pays in America.” 

“Raising the minimum wage to $15 would give at least 25 million hard-working Americans – including six million working moms – a raise, lift as many as six million people out of poverty, and infuse more than $32 billion into our national economy,” Rep. Jackson Lee said. “Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do.”

“Recent calls for an increase in the minimum wage have been displaced by the increasing cost of living in our country,” Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said.  “Today, $15 an hour is the minimum wage a worker needs in order to make a decent living.”

“The low federal minimum wage amounts to corporate welfare,” Rep. Janice Hahn said. “American taxpayers are subsidizing rich corporations by covering the cost of food stamps and healthcare for underpaid and exploited workers.”

“Raising the minimum wage is good for our workers and our economy,” Rep. Grayson said. “People who earn minimum wage put their earnings back into our economy by buying food, clothes, baby supplies, and other necessities. A higher minimum wage also means fewer people collecting government assistance like food stamps. Almost 60% of minimum wage earners in this country are women. A large percentage of them are single mothers. They deserve a salary that reflects the true costs they face. The American worker is long overdue for a raise. No one who works full time should live in poverty.”

Original Co-sponsors: Reps. Adams (D-WA), Blumenauer (D-OR), Chu (D-CA), Clarke (D-NY), Cohen (D-TN), Conyers (D-MI), Edwards (D-MD), Ellison (D-MN), Farr (D-CA), Hahn (D-CA), Honda (D-CA), Gallego (D-AZ), Grijalva (D-AZ), Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Lee (D-CA), Lewis (D-GA), Lowenthal (D-CA), McDermott (D-WA), Meeks (D-NY), Nadler (D-NY), Norton (D-DC), Pallone (D-NJ), Pocan (D-WI), Rangel (D-NY), Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Schakowsky (D-IL), Takano (D-CA), Van Hollen (D-MD), Velazquez (D-NY), Watson-Coleman (D-NJ).

The Pay Workers a Living Wage Act is supported by Service Employees International Union (SEIU), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Restaurant Opportunities Center, and Communications Workers of America.