Thursday, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to pass the Raise the Wage Act, which will gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 over six years. Rep. Kilmer serves as an original co-sponsor of the bill, which according to independent economic analysis, will increase pay for up to 33 million American workers.
“I work every day to create more economic opportunity and make life better for the folks I represent,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I’m proud to support raising the federal minimum wage so people working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks a year, aren’t earning a salary that puts them below the poverty line.”
After more than 10 years without an increase in the federal minimum wage – the longest stretch in history – low-wage workers have suffered a 17 percent pay cut due to inflation. Economic analysts expect that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour will boost total annual wages for low-wage workers by $92.5 billion, lifting annual earnings for the average affected year-round worker by $2,800.
According to the Congressional Budget Office’s review of a similar proposal, the Raise the Wage Act would lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, including 600,000 children.
The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 would:
- Gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next six years, lifting millions of workers out of poverty, stimulating local economies, and restoring the value of the minimum wage;
- Index future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage growth to ensure the value of the minimum wage does not once again erode over time;
- Guarantee tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by phasing out the subminimum wages that allow these workers to be paid below $7.25 an hour.