WASHINGTON – Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour over the next five years, CNBC reports.
Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) support the Raise the Wage Act. The bill hit the House floor with 181 co-sponsors and the Senate version has 31 co-sponsors.
The business community has largely argued that a federal minimum wage of $15 will harm small business owners, slash employee hours and hurt companies in areas with lower living expenses. The measure would index the minimum wage to median wage growth after it hits $15 in 2024.
A higher federal minimum wage would “drastically increase operating costs then these small businesses will be forced to hire fewer people, reduce hours, or even close their doors,” said Shannon Meade, vice president of public policy and workforce for the National Restaurant Association.
Already, 19 states have a higher minimum wage than $7.25 an hour.