Democrats plan to push for a $15 minimum wage once they take over control in the House of Representatives next year.
House Democratic aides say the two key issues the party will focus on is raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour and expanding overtime pay, Vox reports.
Democrats expect to get strong resistance from Republicans in the Senate but aides said the House will vote to raise the minimum wage and put pressure on the GOP to pass it or take the unpopular position of opposing a minimum wage increase.
“This is not just a fairness issue. When workers earn a fair wage, it’s good for the economy,” one aide told Vox.
According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll released earlier this year, 66 percent support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10.10, 59 percent support a $12 minimum wage and 48 percent support a $15 minimum wage.
Midterm voters in red states that voted to back Democrats also voted to raise the minimum wage for nearly 1 million workers. In Missouri, 62 percent of voters approved a minimum wage increase of $12 per hour by 2023. In Arkansas, 68 percent of voters approved raising the minimum wage to $11 in three years.
Wages stagnant despite economic boom:
"Sluggish income growth remains one of the most persistent problems in the US economy, which is otherwise doing quite well," Vox reported. "Unemployment is down, corporate profits have soared, and the economy is growing faster than it has in more than a decade. But wages are barely keeping up with inflation. Wages rose about 2.9 percent between September 2017 to September 2018. That’s the biggest increase since 2008, and yet that’s not really good news, because it doesn’t take inflation into account. When inflation is taken into account, workers’ wages only grew by 0.6 percent within the past year."
Republicans push back:
The news comes just days after Trump's top economic adviser called for getting rid of the federal minimum wage entirely.
“My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea. A terrible idea,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said at a Washington Post event, dismissing it as “silly” and warning that it would increase costs for small businesses.
“Alabama is different from Massachusetts. How can you have a national federal wage?” Kudlow later said in an interview with the Fox Business Network. “The federal government shouldn’t have jurisdiction over the states anyway in a matter like this. The conditions are different in these states, the cost of living is different, the state of business is different.”