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Democrats reintroduce $15 minimum wage bill

Democrats in both chambers of Congress on Tuesday reintroduced a bill to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time since 2009, setting a $15 an hour target by 2025. 

That level would be more than double the current rate of $7.25 an hour, which was approved in 2007 and set in place two years later.

“Let’s be clear: The $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” said incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.).

“No person in America can make it on $8, $10 or $12 an hour."

The House approved the same legislation in 2019, but it languished in the GOP-controlled Senate. 

Even with the Senate under narrow Democratic control, however, its prospects appear slim. The Senate cannot pass a minimum wage increase without the support of 10 Republicans to break a filibuster.

President Biden included the policy in his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, but the minimum wage element is among the most controversial and precarious of its provisions. Biden has sought bipartisan support for the bill, but Democrats have threatened to advance it along party lines using budget reconciliation, a procedure that sidesteps the filibuster.

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