WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – The House of Representatives voted to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. But prospects for passage in the Senate remain dim.
The “Raise the Wage Act” would raise minimum pay in steps from its current $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour by 2025.
It marks the first time Congress has voted to raise the minimum wage since 2009.
Democrats argue the bill could boost pay for 33 million workers, including 1/3 of all women currently in the workforce.
But Republicans say the wage could force small and low-revenue businesses to cut jobs, especially entry-level positions for young people.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) said, “In the greatest country on earth, nobody with the dignity of a full-time job should suffer the indignity of not being able to being to provide for themselves or their loved ones.”
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) said, “This bill would cause disruptive job losses and harm entry-level workers in many regions around the country effectively knocking the bottom rung off the career ladder and especially hurting young workers.
The bill was drawn up for gradual increases in response to concerns of some moderates about the impact on small business and rural areas, where pay scales are generally lower than cities.