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NW senators propose $12 federal minimum wage


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Thursday joined Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the leading Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and other Democrat senators to introduce legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020.

The Raise the Wage Act would gradually increase the federal minimum wage, now $7.25 an hour, to $12 over the next five years and, in their words, “restore the value of hard work so more working families have the chance to get ahead.”

“Raising wages for millions of low-wage workers would ensure we grow our economy from the middle out, not the top down,” Merkley’s statement said.

The bill also eliminates the “outdated” $2.13 tipped wage and prevents workers from falling through the cracks by indexing the minimum wage to median wage growth over time, the senators said.

“There are too many working families in America struggling to afford basic needs like food on the table, mortgage or rent, and education for their children,” Merkley said. “We need a minimum wage Americans can actually live on.”

The senators said raising the minimum wage to $12 would put more money in the pockets of consumers and give more than 28 million workers and countless American families a raise.

States and companies across the country have taken steps to raise their minimum wage, but only action from Congress can raise the wage floor nationwide.

Several bills to raise Oregon’s minimum wage as high as $15 an hour in coming years have been introduced in Salem.

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