The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would more than double the federal minimum wage over several years.
The vote was 231-199.
The bill, calling for a $15 per hour minimum by 2025, represents a victory for progressives. The current minimum is $7.25.
Shortly before the vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared it “an historic day” because the measure, titled the Raise the Wage Act, would narrow the gender gap in wages.
But the bill is virtually certain to be blocked in the Republican-controlled Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he won’t even bring it up for debate.
Thursday’s vote was the culmination of a 7-year process launched by fast food workers in 2012. At the time, a $15 minimum seemed out of reach.
“But since then,” CNN reports, “some cities and states have raised their local minimum wages to $15 an hour on their own — including Seattle, San Francisco, New York City and then all of California and New York State. Companies like McDonald’s and Walmart stopped lobbying against raising the federal minimum wage, and Amazon adopted a $15 minimum last year.”
Republican leaders mostly oppose the bill, saying it will be a drag on the economy.
But that opposition could be a political drag on the GOP heading into an election year.
“A Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey last year found 60 percent of U.S. adults supported raising the national minimum wage to $15 … while 37 percent were opposed,” says the Post.