Raise the Wage Act Re-introduced in Congress

January 26, 2021

The Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 over the next four years, was re-introduced into Congress today. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 has not been increased since 2009 — the longest period without a raise since the minimum wage was established by the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.

Raising the minimum wage would increase pay for nearly 32 million workers. As the UE NEWS pointed out in 2014, “Raising the minimum wage is an economic stimulus and an anti-poverty program that is not paid for through taxes. Rather, it requires private employers to pay wages that are closer to what people need to live.”

Although opponents of raising the minimum wage will often claim that it leads to job loss, the evidence says otherwise. As the blog On Labor reports, “The impact of a minimum wage increase is one of the most well-studied subjects in the field of economics, and there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that any potential job loss caused – which is often negligible – is more than offset by the average gains made by low-income workers, including those who previously earned hourly wages higher than the minimum wage.”

The Raise the Wage Act passed Congress in 2019, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring the measure to a vote in the Senate.

Delegates to UE’s 76th convention, in 2019, endorsed the Raise the Wage Act in the resolution, “A Just Economy for All.”