Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 582

Should the Federal Minimum Wage Be Gradually Increased to $15 an Hour by 2024?

Argument in favor

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour isn’t a living wage and needs to be increased over five years to $15 an hour so that all workers — regardless of what they do for employment — are able to make a good living. Exceptions to the minimum wage, such as the subminimum wage for tipped workers, should be eliminated to put all workers on an even footing.

Vercilya 's Opinion
···
03/07/2019
Why 2024? Two years is sufficient time for the transition!
Like (12)
Follow
Share
David's Opinion
···
03/08/2019
It should actually be raised immediately! This would be the next best option. Get this passed this year, and next year pass a bill/amendment/whatever works to raise it immediately.
Like (3)
Follow
Share
Anatoly's Opinion
···
03/08/2019
This Bill should be amended to be effective immediately upon it being enacted into law!
Like (2)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

It’s basic economics that raising the cost of labor will cause employers to hire fewer workers or automate those jobs. Hiking the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would have disastrous consequences for workers in jobs that can be automated and for younger workers who’d lose vital opportunities to gain experience in minimum wage jobs that won’t be available to them.

Susan's Opinion
···
03/08/2019
Basic economics says you cannot arbitrarily set a minimum wage that has nothing to do with the value of the work being done. If the wage is too high for the business to pay and still make a small profit, then prices will go up and/or people will lose the jobs they do have. Working for a wage is doing something that has value in line with the income.
Like (5)
Follow
Share
IAmNormaL's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
If you raise the minimum wage all the companies do is cut the hours to balance out....business is about profit..no law will change that...that's why black markets exist.
Like (4)
Follow
Share
Jacquelin 's Opinion
···
03/07/2019
Remember, some people live on Social Security. It won’t be going up. If you don’t like people lounging on the sidewalks now, this is a guarantee the parks, rivers and squatter situation will get worse.
Like (3)
Follow
Share

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
    IntroducedJanuary 16th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 582?

This bill — the Raise the Wage Act of 2019 — would increase the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage in phases each year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2024. It would index future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage growth, in order to ensure that the value of the minimum wage doesn’t erode over time again, as it has in the past. It would also repeal subminimum wages to ensure that tipped workers, youth workers, and individuals with disabilities are competitively employed at the minimum wage.

Specifically, the federal minimum wage would be increased to the following levels:

  • $8.55 an hour on the first day of the third month after this bill’s enactment;
  • $9.85 an hour after one year has elapsed;
  • $11.15 an hour after two years have elapsed;
  • $12.45 an hour after three years have elapsed;
  • $13.75 an hour after four years have elapsed; and
  • $15 an hour after five years have elapsed.

Impact

Workers; low-income workers; hourly workers; families; children; poverty; states; minimum wage; businesses; small businesses; youth workers; workers with disabilities; tipped workers; and the federal minimum wage.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 582

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2024, index future minimum wage increases to median wage growth, and ensure that all workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by phasing out subminimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities:

“No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty. The Raise the Wage Act will increase the pay and standard of living for nearly 40 million workers across this country. Raising the minimum wage is not only good for workers, it is good for businesses, and good for the economy. When we put money in the pockets of American workers, they will spend that money in their communities. This bill is a stimulus for Main Street America.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who introduced a companion bill in the Senate with 31 cosponsors, added that it’s “not a radical idea” to say that a job should lift a worker out of poverty:

“Just a few short years ago, we were told that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was ‘radical.’ But a grassroots movement of millions of workers throughout this country refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it. The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be increased to a living wage of $15 an hour.”

House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who supports this bill, added that a $15 minimum wage affirms the “bedrock idea of fairness” in America:

“A $15 federal minimum wage affirms the bedrock idea of fairness in our country: that hard work deserves a decent wage. We will open up opportunities for working families and drive economic growth that lifts up all communities – because our economy works best when it works for everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged few.”

Senate Democratic Leader Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who also supports this bill, added that the $15 minimum wage is needed to ensure that the minimum wage is a living wage:

“For a long time, Democrats have been trying to raise the minimum wage to keep pace with the times. The harsh truth of the matter is that the minimum wage is now a poverty wage in too many parts of America. And no American with a full-time job should be living in poverty. Despite campaigning as a champion for working Americans, President Trump has abandoned working Americans while in office. He’s tried to strip away workers’ health care, given a massive tax cut to corporations and the wealthy, and used workers as bargaining chips in shutting the government down. If President Trump isn’t going to stick up for American workers on key issues such as raising the minimum wage, Democrats will.”

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is one of a number of labor unions that supports this bill. SEIU’s president, Mary Kay Henry, says:

"Everyone who works—no matter where they are from or what the color of their skin is—deserves to be paid enough to lead a decent life and provide for their family, and that's what a $15 minimum wage will do."

Multiple prominent economists have come out in opposition to a $15 federal minimum wage. Alan Krueger, former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, called a $15 minimum wage “a risk not worth taking” that’d “put [the U.S.] in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences.” Similarly, Clinton administration economist Harry Holzer cautioned that a $15 minimum wage would be “extremely risky,” particularly for younger and less-educated workers who need to gain work experience.

Rachel Greszler, a research fellow in economics, budget and entitlements for the Heritage Foundation, points out that a $15 federal minimum wage isn’t the only policy that’d increase wage, particularly for low-income workers:

“Congress could enact universal savings accounts and eliminate double taxation on savings to help increase investment and make workers more productive. Policymakers could also reduce unnecessary regulations on employers that drive up their costs and leave them with fewer resources to compensate their employees. And finally, Congress could rein in unsustainable government spending so that younger workers and future generations do not face the prospect of government taking more than half of their wages to help pay for the irresponsible largesse of past and current lawmakers.”

Republicans appear to oppose an increase in the federal minimum wage. While President Trump has voiced support for a higher minimum wage, he’s typically said that states should decide their own pay floors. Trump’s top economic advisor, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, has called a federal minimum wage “a terrible idea” that would “particularly” hurt small businesses.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a traditionally Republican-aligned pro-business group — also opposes a $15 federal minimum wage. Marc Freedman, vice president of employment policy at the Chamber of Commerce, argues that many businesses “do not have the ability to absorb an increase in their labor costs" to $15 per hour, which he characterizes as a “dramatic escalation.” Like Kudlow, Freedman argues that small businesses are “least positioned” to absorb the effects of a $15 federal minimum wage.

The National Restaurant Association has cautioned against a $15 minimum wage. Its vice president of public policy and workforce, Shannon Meade, warns that if Congress passes a $15 federal minimum wage that “drastically increase[s] operating costs then these small [restaurant] businesses will be forced to hire fewer people, reduce hours, or even close their doors.”

This bill has 200 Democratic cosponsors in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, Rep. Scott introduced this bill with the support of 171 Democratic cosponsors, but it didn’t receive a committee vote.

When Rep. Scott introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, it had the support of many organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, the Economic Opportunity Institute, Feminist Majority, United Auto Workers (UAW), Justice in Motion, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, People Demanding Action, Oxfam America, and others.


Of NoteThe federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for covered nonexempt workers hasn’t changed since July 2009. This means that adjusted for inflation, the lowest-paid worker’s spending power has fallen nearly 40 percent over the past five decades. However, the campaign for a $15 minimum wage has recently gained traction nationwide, with three states (California, Massachusetts, and New York, plus the District of Columbia) passing laws to gradually increase their wage floors to $15 and major cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, also increasing their base hourly wages to $15/hour.

According to 2017 estimates from the Economic Policy Institute, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 would increase wages for around 40 million people — nearly 30 percent of the workforce. This would include over 40 percent of African-American workers and one-third of Hispanic workers. Additionally, women — who currently make up nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers — would also benefit from this bill. Once fully phased in, a $15 federal minimum wage would yield an approximately $3,500 increase in annual pay for the average affected worker.

First Focus Campaign for Children observes that since 28 percent of the workers that’d be affected by a $15 federal minimum wage increase have children, over 11 million children would directly feel the positive effects of an increased minimum wage. According to a 2015 report by the Children’s Defense Fund, parents working full-time at the current $7.25/hour federal minimum wage and supporting two children are $4,700 below the federal poverty rateIncreasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would reduce child poverty by four percent, lifting 400,000 children out of poverty — increasing the federal minimum wage to $15/hour would lift far more children out of poverty and make a bigger dent in child poverty. According to researcher at Indian University, raising the minimum wage by $1/hour would contribute to a 9.6 percent decline in reports of neglect of children between the ages of 0-12, as parents living in a constant state of financial instability often suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression, which compromise their abilities to respond to their children’s needs. Thus, increased income improves financial stability, improves the physical and mental health of children and families, and decreases child maltreatment rates.

Rep. Scott’s office contends that economists agree that since low-wage workers are more likely than any other income group to spend extra earnings immediately, a 10 percent increase in the federal minimum wage would increase sales by around $2 billion a year.

As a counterpoint to these claims, it's worth noting that when the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) conducted a survey of 197 working economists (64 percent of whom were specialized in labor) in February 2019, 74 percent of respondents opposed raising the minimum wage to $15 (however, 46 percent supported raising the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25/hour rate). The respondents were also somewhat pessimistic about a $15/hour minimum wage's potential effect on poverty rates: 38 percent thought it'd lead to increased poverty, 19 percent believed it'd leave the poverty rate unchanged, 27 percent believed it'd reduce poverty, and 16 percent were unsure. Despite their mixed beliefs about what a $15 minimum wage would mean for poverty rates, the respondents were in near-universal agreement that a $15/hour minimum wage would have a negative impact on employment84 percent believed it'd have a negative effect on youth employment levels, 56 percent believed it'd have a negative effect on adult employment levels, and 77 percent believed it'd negatively impact the number of available jobs. They also agreed that a $15/hour minimum wage would disadvantage unskilled workers, with 83 percent of respondents asserting that a $15/hour minimum wage would lead to more higher-skilled employees being hired. The January 2019 EPI survey's respondents tended to believe that raising the minimum wage to $15/hour would be the least efficient means of addressing low-income needs (64 percent said it'd be "not at all efficient," 26 percent said "somewhat efficient", 6 percent said "very efficient" and four percent said "unsure"), whereas expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be the most efficient means of addressing low-income needs (64 percent said it'd be "very efficient," 34 percent said "somewhat efficient," and 1% each said "not at all" or "unsure").

When the EPI conducted this same survey in 2015, it found that 72 percent of economists opposed a $15 federal minimum wage. The 2015 survey — which was completed by 166 U.S.-based economists, the majority of whom specialized in labor and identified as Democrats — was sent to 555 economists across the country, whose names were obtained from a database of roughly 1,4000 prominent economists from around the world maintained by the Institute for the Study of Labor. At that time, the EPI survey found that five out of six economists (83 percent) believed a $15 federal minimum wage would harm youth employment levels; three-quarters (76 percent) of economists believed a $15 minimum wage would decrease the number of available jobs; and two-thirds (67 percent) of economists believed a $15 minimum wage would make it more difficult for small businesses to survive. Only five percent of respondents believed that a $15 minimum wage would be an efficient way to address poor families’ income needs. By contrast, 71 percent said the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which bolsters incomes through the tax code, is a very efficient way to address poor families’ income needsAdditionally, 76 percent of respondents said general welfare support (such as TANF and food stamps) are "somewhat" (52 percent) or "very" (24 percent) efficient at addressing low-income needs.

In October 2018, peer-reviewed research from University of California at San Diego economist Jeffrey Clemens and AEI researcher Michael Strain looked at what happened in employment in states that raised their minimum wages between January 2013 and January 2015. The average boost in those states was less than a dollar, but Clemens and Strain found that increases exceeding $1/hour “resulted in employment declines of just over one percentage point among teenagers, among individuals ages 16 to 21, and among individuals ages 16 to 25 with less than a completed high school education."

Looking at the results of Clemens’ and Strain’s research, The Week columnist James Pethokoukis concluded:

“Perhaps longer-run results would be different. But these and other similar findings signal caution is warranted. One can find plenty of economists on the left and right who think that while $15 an hour may make sense for some companies, a one-size-fits-all approach for businesses big and small around the country is a ‘risk not worth taking,’ as former Obama White House economist Alan Krueger has put it.”

Axios adds that a $15 minimum wage also risks “uncontemplated social consequences,” due to the fact that a $15 minimum wage is “barely sufficient for a studio apartment in the big cities, and it could upset workers already earning $15 and more.”

A January 2018 study by economists Grace Lordan and David Neumark of the London School of Economics and the University of California-Irvine, respectively, found that “increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become nonemployed or employed in worse jobs.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Raise the Wage Act

Official Title

To provide for increases in the Federal minimum wage, and for other purposes.

    Why 2024? Two years is sufficient time for the transition!
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Basic economics says you cannot arbitrarily set a minimum wage that has nothing to do with the value of the work being done. If the wage is too high for the business to pay and still make a small profit, then prices will go up and/or people will lose the jobs they do have. Working for a wage is doing something that has value in line with the income.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    If you raise the minimum wage all the companies do is cut the hours to balance out....business is about profit..no law will change that...that's why black markets exist.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Remember, some people live on Social Security. It won’t be going up. If you don’t like people lounging on the sidewalks now, this is a guarantee the parks, rivers and squatter situation will get worse.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    It should actually be raised immediately! This would be the next best option. Get this passed this year, and next year pass a bill/amendment/whatever works to raise it immediately.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    This Bill should be amended to be effective immediately upon it being enacted into law!
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    Americans deserve a living wage
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour will do two things, and two things only. First, it will increase terminal unemployment to increase as minimum wage increases because anyone who's labor is not worth 15 dollars an hour (cripples, teens, mentally challenged people, vets returning from combat deployments, etc.) will not be able to get a job anywhere, even in a skilless position like retail or fast food service. Secondly, it will raise prices on all goods and services as firms are forced to increase input costs arbitrarily in an attempt to create a utopian pipedream. Costs will increase across the boards as firms have to raise prices and more people are forced into permanent destitution and forced to live off social safety nets which increases necessary funding (already over 2.5 trillion dollars and 60% of total federal spending) to those programs to sustain them
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Because $15 makes sense in the economy!
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Agree it should be before 2024
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    It's a viscos cycle! Raise the minimum wage, then businesses raise their prices! The dollar then becomes worthless! What is the answer?
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will have a detrimental effect on our economy. It will raise the price of goods across the board effectively cutting the legs off the intention behind raising the minimum wage. It will also cause people to lose their jobs as their employers must cut costs and automation will also start to be used more cutting even further jobs.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    This issue has two separate and frankly conflicting concerns involved. On one hand, we have fairness: it is just. not. fair. that a person who works a full work-week cannot provide for themselves or their family. On the other hand, many businesses' models are based on cheaper labor. Ultimately it comes down to breaking a few eggs to make an omelette--those businesses which cannot sustain themselves while paying their employees enough to survive must adapt or close down.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    If your going to take 5 years to get it to $15
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Break the cycle of poverty. New research indicates that raising the minimum wage would improve millions of children’s lives through better nutrition, as well as lower risks of homelessness and adult suicide. Can I count on the Congressmember to co-sponsor and support passage?
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Full time work should pay enough to live on. Period.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    In many large metropolitan areas, even those now earning $15/hr. struggle to meet the costs of their living expenses. The current minimum wage is a starvation wage in most areas of the country, and makes a mockery of the entire point of the minimum wage. While others have expressed concern that a $15 minimum wage would cause lost jobs, I disagree. There was a time in this country when, for example, workers in skilled trades made much more than they do now in many cases, and in booming job markets. Employers bemoan the cost of increasing pay, while the markets and wage disparities tell another story, showing record-setting earnings for large corporations while middle class wages stagnate, barely keeping up with inflation and some years falling behind. I believe that either this cycle will self-destruct, or that we will support the longevity of our markets by increasing the spending power of the middle class.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    distorts structure for performace and promotions\
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    In order for our democracy to survive. We need drastic tax system modifications to tax the rich for the government and infrastructure they use. But it is not likely to be enough. We need to increase the minimum wage and make it adjustable to inflation.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Actually this should have been done years ago
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    MORE