GUEST: Negin Owliaei, researcher and editor at Inequality.org. She previously worked as a journalist and digital producer at Al Jazeera Media Network
BACKGROUND: The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, marking a significant victory for progressives and labor rights. Only three House Republicans joined Democrats in voting for it.
If the bill became law, it would mark the first federal minimum wage increase in over a decade and the largest jump ever. Even more importantly, the Raise the Wage bill ties future increases to the minimum wage to middle class pay levels.
Low-wage workers have for years been demanding an increase in their minimum wage to $15 an hour and indeed many cities and even states around the country have raised the floor of their wages to $15 an hour. A recent report by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that nearly 30 million Americans would benefit from a federal increase to $15 an hour, and more than a million households would be lifted out of poverty.
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