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U.S. House Votes to Boost Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

Photo by: Alex Wong, Getty Images
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By Jay Hutchison Explore the Issues Economic Security Workers' Rights

Congress has taken a major step forward in the fight to reduce income inequality in this country.

The House, in a bipartisan vote of 231-199 Thursday, passed the Raise the Wage Act. The bill would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour and eliminate the exploitative tipped minimum wage. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.

The last time Congress raised the minimum wage was in 2009, when the wage rose from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement, “This legislation is a long time coming. … A $15 minimum wage will reduce inequality and strengthen our communities, lifting families out of poverty and putting upward pressure on wages for everyone. Absolutely everyone working full time should be able to provide the basic necessities – food, housing, health care and more – that their families need to survive.”

Twenty-nine states already have raised their local minimum wage above the current federal standard. Six states – California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York – and the District of Columbia will raise their minimum wage to $15 over the next few years.

The Raise the Wage Act would raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The legislation would benefit millions of working class families that have been struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living across the nation.