House Approves New Minimum Wage

Democrats win a mostly symbolic legislative victory
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2019 12:23 PM CDT
House Votes on $15 Minimum Wage
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 17, 2019.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The House has struck again: A day after addressing two hot-button issues, the legislative body voted Thursday to increase the US minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The 231-199 vote fell mostly on party lines and showed that centrist and liberal Democrats can still compromise, the Hill reports. Liberals won by getting the wage boost passed, while centrists managed to prolong the extension period by an extra year. It's the first congressional minimum-wage increase since the House voted in 2007 to raise it to $7.25, with a two-year grace period. But the GOP-controlled Senate isn't expected to approve the current plan.

Yet it shows what Democrats would want if they win the White House and Senate in 2020, the New York Times reports. It also reveals a political shift since fast-food employees began fighting for $15 hourly wages and a union in 2012; $15 seemed high to many at the time, but now some communities have adopted it and others are feeling left behind. "In my district of Milwaukee, Wis., Milwaukeeans are stuck at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour set over a decade ago," says Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat, who adds that "they are working themselves into poverty." The Congressional Budget Office says the new House plan would pull 1.3 million people out of poverty while costing the US 1.3 million jobs. (More minimum wage stories.)

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