WASHINGTON—U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., helped reintroduce a bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage so all American workers are better able to pay their bills and support their families. The federal minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25 an hour for more than a decade. The Raise the Wage Act gradually increases the minimum wage in five steps until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025.
Thanks in part to Murphy’s leadership, the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 passed an increase to the federal minimum wage for the first time in 12 years. Last year, with Murphy’s strong support, Floridians approved a ballot initiative that gradually increases the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, up from the current $8.56 an hour. President Biden has signaled strong support for efforts in Congress to raise the minimum wage nationwide.
“Last Congress, I was proud to help lead the historic effort in the House to give American workers a raise. Floridians then followed suit and voted to increase our state minimum wage and put more money in the pockets of hard-working families,” said Murphy. “This bill is a reasonable step to boost our economy and ensure everyone who works hard in this great country can provide for themselves and their loved ones.”
According to statistics, the Orlando area has 164 different job categories—collectively employing over 575,000 workers—where the median hourly wage is below $15.00 an hour. In November 2020, a supermajority of voters in Florida approved a ballot initiative, Amendment 2, to phase in wage increases until the state minimum wage is $15 an hour in 2026.
Last Congress, Murphy played a critical role in getting a similar version of the Raise the Wage Act through the U.S. House of Representatives. She co-authored an amendment to the bill that requires an independent study of the economic and employment impacts of increasing the minimum wage, to be prepared after the federal minimum wage reaches $9.50 an hour but before it rises to $10.60. In addition, Murphy helped broker an agreement with House leadership to extend the pathway from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour by one year. As a result of Murphy’s efforts, the bill garnered enough support to pass the House.
Since establishing the federal minimum wage in 1938, Congress has increased it 22 times. The most recent legislative change was in 2007, when Congress raised the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. In the absence of recent federal action, many states have increased their minimum wage above the federal rate, including Florida.
According to an independent analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, the Raise the Wage Act would increase wages for nearly 32 million Americans.
A fact sheet on the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, prepared by the House Committee on Education and Labor, can be found here.