Cantwell Co-Sponsors Murray, Sanders Legislation to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

Bill would raise wages for almost a third of American workers

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will join Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in introducing legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“Washington state has been a leader in putting workers first – including raising the minimum wage. Washington has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $11.00 and is one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Our state is proof we can grow our economy and provide Americans a living wage,” said Senator Cantwell. “It’s time for Congress to raise the national minimum wage and put workers before corporations. I’m proud to join Senator Sanders and Senator Murray in being a voice for working families.”

In total, eighteen Senate Democrats have signed onto the bill, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 and would be indexed to the median wage growth thereafter. This raise would increase the minimum wage higher than its 1968 peak. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009.

While labor productivity has more than doubled since the late 1960s, pay has either stagnated or fallen since the 1970s, particularly for low wage workers. At the same time, income for those at the top has skyrocketed. The richest one percent of earners have seen their income grow by 15 percent since 2009 and by more than 130 percent since the late 1960s.

The legislation would give more than 41 million low-wage workers a raise, increasing the wages of almost 30 percent of the U.S. workforce. A $15 minimum wage by 2024 would generate $144 billion in higher wages for workers, benefiting their local economies.

The bill will also gradually eliminate the loophole that allows tipped workers and workers with disabilities to be paid substantially less than the federal minimum wage, bringing it to parity with the regular minimum wage. Moreover, it would also phase out the youth minimum wage, that allows employers to pay workers under 20 years old a lower wage for the first 90 calendar days of work.

In addition to Cantwell, Murray, and Sanders, senators who have committed to co-sponsoring the legislation include: Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD),  Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The bill will be introduced in the Senate soon.

Read a summary of the bill here.

Read a copy of the bill here.