On Thursday (May 4), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, proposed raising the national minimum wage to $17 an hour.
He said the committee will mark up the bill on June 14, sharing his hope to get it to the Senate floor.
Sanders declared it “time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage” at a Thursday press conference.
He added that as “chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee,” his intention was to do that.
Sanders is reviving his push to raise the national minimum wage, a little over two years after eight Senate Democrats joined Republicans in rejecting a proposal to add a $15-an-hour wage to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed in March 2021.
That bill lost 58-42.
Referencing the 2021 attempt to raise the minimum wage, Sanders asserted that $15 an hour in 2021 will be the same as $17 an hour in 2023 because of inflation.
Congress last voted to raise the national minimum wage in 2007, agreeing to increase it to the current level of $7.25 an hour in July 2009.
But Sanders declared that “Nobody in this country can survive on $7.25 an hour.”
He then suggested that some of those in Congress attempt living on $7.25 an hour for a month and “see what that’s like.”
The Vermont Senator then explained that there were already 13 states that had passed the $15 an-hour threshold, including Nebraska, a Republican-leaning state.
The Independent Senator then claimed raising the minimum wage wasn’t a red or blue issue but “an American issue.”
Sanders said he wants a vote on the bill, which is struggling to get the support of 60 senators to survive.