One of the long-standing goals of the Democrats in Congress has been to raise the daily minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. It looks like there is progress as they introduced such legislation on Tuesday. The legislation is supported by the Democrats but needs support from at least 10 Republicans and all the 50 Democrats to avoid a filibuster.
Although the same issue was raised in 2019, it was unsuccessful as Republicans, mainly from rural areas, called it a burden for small businesses. There is a fairly large disparity in living conditions and expenses across the nation and a minimum wage has always caused a rural- urban divide.
In 2019, the Congressional Budget Office had released statistics about the impact of the wage increase and found that it would increase the earnings of 17 million workers by 2025. There was also a possibility that 10 million workers would see an increase in wages. Another statistic revealed indicated that 1.3 million people would also cross the poverty threshold. The statistics also had a downside as job losses were also expected to cross 1.3 million, many of whom would belong to rural areas.
When President Biden had proposed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan also termed the rescue plan, there were provisions for raising the basic wage from $7.25 an hour to $15. Last week the president had also signed an executive order asking the Department of Labor for its recommendations on this proposal.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee also believes that the minimum wage proposal could be passed under “budget reconciliation.” This measure would ensure that Democrats pass the bill as a part of taxing and spending policies, with a simple majority. It could also avoid a Senate showdown as the Democrat-Republican ratio is 50-50 with the Vice President breaking the tie.
An increase in wage has the potential to reduce federal deficit as well as government spending. It would also provide a better life for a worker’s dependents in the present and future, financially as well as educationally.