WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used Labor Day to promote a hike in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
- The minimum wage was last raised in 2009 when it increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.
- Democrats, including President Biden, have continued to promote the effort but critics believe that dramatically increasing the minimum wage would hurt the economy.
Celebrating American workers on Labor Day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi again pushed for a hike in the federal minimum wage.
In a statement Monday, Pelosi said: “For generations, working people joining together in a union have been one of the greatest forces for progress in American history: winning the 40-hour workweek, two-day weekends, workplace safety protections, collective bargaining rights and more.”
“Moving forward, Democrats will continue to fight to enact our legislation, passed in the House with the partnership of labor, to secure equal pay for equal work and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”
The minimum wage was last raised in 2009 when it increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. The current rate has not been raised in 12 years, the longest stretch since the minimum wage was first set in 1938.
As Congress’ efforts for a hike have been blocked, 30 states, the District of Columbia, and some other cities have set up their own minimum wage above the federal minimum.
Critics believe that drastically increasing the minimum wage could hurt the economy — small businesses would suffer, prices would go up, and jobs would be threatened.
Top Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have persistently made the effort a priority, pushing votes on the issue using different courses of action.
The Democrat-led House of Representatives has advanced legislation that would see a gradual rise in the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. The Senate has so far rejected the effort as key Democrats, including Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), are not in favor of the higher minimum wage mandate.
Earlier this year, all 50 Republican senators and eight Democratic senators blocked the latest effort earlier this year. With the filibuster in play, it requires 60 votes to advance.
For Manchin, $11 an hour is acceptable, but $15 is too taxing for businesses.
“$7.25 is sinfully low. We must raise it,” Manchin said during an appearance on ABC’s This Week in March.
When Biden was elected president, he signed an executive order that will require most federal contractors to pay at least $15 an hour for their workers next year—up from $10.95 an hour.
The attempt to amend the COVID-19 relief package failed in March but Pelosi vowed that the House would push to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She didn’t give a timeline.