Democrats in the House and Senate introduced legislation Thursday that would increase the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020, a $4.75 increase from the current $7.25 minimum wage.
"No one who works hard in a full-time job should have to live in poverty," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said of her bill. "We owe it to workers across the country to make sure our minimum wage is set to a level that works for them and their families."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats are pushing for a $12 per hour minimum wage, their latest effort to boost wages for lower-income Americans. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Murray's bill has 32 Senate Democrats on board, and the House version from Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) has 160 cosponsors, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Democrats have clamored for a raise in the minimum wage for the last several years. The last increase came in 2007.
Democratic demands for a higher wage have increased as the years have gone by. Three years ago, Democrats in the House offered a few proposals to boost the minimum wage to about $10 an hour. One bill put forward by more than 100 Democrats called for a $9.80 minimum wage, and would have required 85-cent increases each year for three years to get there.
Last year, progressive Democrats called for a $15 minimum wage, at a time when President Obama had been pushing for a $10.10 minimum.
Republicans have resisted the idea of a minimum wage hike, and have said increasing it would make fewer jobs available at a time when millions of people are still looking for work.