Inside the Raise the Wage Act, with EPI’s David Cooper

Rebecca sits down with the Economic Policy Institute’s David Cooper for a deep dive into Democrats’ Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025.Subscribe to Off-Kilter on iTunes.

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2009.

That’s the last time Congress increased the federal minimum wage — to the current $7.25 an hour.

Folks paid the federal minimum haven’t gotten a raise in well over a decade, the longest stretch in history.

Meanwhile, the tipped minimum wage has been stuck at $2.13 an hour for THIRTY YEARS. Since 1991.

And, due to an archaic loophole in federal law, hundreds of thousands of disabled workers are still being paid sub-minimum wages, often as little as pennies an hour for their labor.

But this week, Democrats in the House and Senate — led by Senators Bernie Sanders and Patty Murray and Reps. Bobby Scott and Pramila Jayapal — introduced the Raise the Wage Act to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, and to sunset sub-minimum wages for tipped workers and disabled workers, ensuring that all workers are paid a living wage.

The Raise the Wage Act is hardly new, having passed the Democratic-controlled House last year, on a party-line vote. But, despite its immense popularity with voters on both sides of the aisle — support that has only grown during the COVID-19 pandemic — the notion of a $15 federal minimum wage has mostly served as a rallying cry with no real path to becoming law, until now.

To dig into Dems’ efforts to *finally* raise the poverty-level federal minimum wage to $15 — Rebecca sat down with David Cooper, a senior policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, and a leading expert on the minimum wage.

This week’s guest:

  • David Cooper, senior policy analyst, Economic Policy Institute

For more on all this:

Off-Kilter is a podcast about poverty and inequality — and everything they intersect with. Hosted by Rebecca Vallas and powered by CAP Action.

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