Bernie Sanders is about to go all-in on $15 minimum wage

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This week, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, a number that has become a national rallying call among fast food, retail, and other low-wage workers. Sanders will announce details of the measure Wednesday morning, his office confirmed to Fusion.

The Democratic presidential candidate isn't the only member of Congress backing the proposal: As Bryce Covert reported over at ThinkProgress, Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Raúl Grijalvaset of Arizona are expected to introduce companion legislation in the House.

A handful of cities have approved a $15 minimum wage (in June, Los Angeles became the largest city to adopt it), but this marks the first time that number will be on the table in Congress.


Legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 was introduced earlier this year by Washington Sen. Patty Murray, and that proposal garnered 32 co-sponsors in the Senate and 160 co-sponsors in the House. Hillary Clinton has said she is in favor of raising the minimum wage and has been vocally supportive of the Fight for $15, but she hasn't committed to a firm policy number. Martin O'Malley has said he supports a $15 minimum wage.

While there's consensus among Democrats in Congress that the minimum wage needs to go up, it's unclear if Sanders' proposal will receive their support or if the issue will split the party.

What's more clear: Sanders' bill doesn't stand a chance in hell of passing the Republican-controlled Congress. Last year, a bill to raise it to $10.10—a number that emerged as moderate consensus among Democrats—was filibustered by Senate Republicans.

And there's no love for the minimum wage among the GOP presidential field, either. Scott Walker has called the minimum wage "lame" and Jeb Bush has said (then kind of unsaid) that he would abolish it altogether.


The current federal minimum—$7.25 an hour—hasn't been raised since 2009. Let's see what happens next.

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