The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since July 24, 2009—for eight years. Thanks to Republicans in Congress and the White House, it won’t be going up any time soon, and though many states have raised their minimum wages, 21 states remain stuck at $7.25 an hour. That’s a poverty wage. A new analysis from the National Employment Law Project shows what the Democrats’ Raise the Wage Act of 2017—which would take the minimum wage up to $15 by 2024, a gradual raise by any standard except the Republican “no raise ever” standard—would do for low-wage workers:
- 20.7 million workers would see pay raises in the 21 states whose minimum wages are stuck at $7.25.
- Fully half of the 41.5 million workers who would see pay increases are in the 21 states stuck at $7.25.
- In the 13 other states with minimum wages of less than $9, nearly 13 million more workers also would see their hourly pay rise.
- Of all the workers nationwide who would receive raises, 8 in 10 are in the 34 states with the lowest minimum wages.
- In 19 of the 21 states at $7.25, more than 30 percent of wage-earners would benefit from raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024; the highest share is in Mississippi, with 44.4 percent.
Republicans want these workers stuck at poverty wages. There’s no other serious explanation for their refusal to raise the minimum wage over the past eight years.