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Oregon Senators Join Push to Raise National Minimum Wage to $15

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined a group of lawmakers introducing a bill to raise the national minimum wage to $15 by 2024.

Posted: Jan 17, 2019 2:09 PM
Updated: Jan 17, 2019 2:16 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Both of Oregon's elected Senators have signed on in support of a bill that would raise the national minimum wage to $15 per-hour if adopted, according to a statement issued on Thursday.

“There are hardworking Americans who just simply aren’t making enough money to make ends meet. That’s unacceptable,” Wyden said. “Oregon has already blazed a trail by taking concrete steps to lift the minimum wage in our state. Now it’s time for the federal government to take action and ensure a living wage for all Americans.”

The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 would increase the minimum wage to $15 by the year 2024 — granting a wage increase to about 40 million Americans, by the accounting of supporters.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than 11 percent of U.S. workers earned ages below the poverty level in 2017, equating to roughly one in every nine workers. The publication regards a poverty-level wage as hourly pay that would leave a full-time, full-year worker below the federal poverty line for their family size if they are the sole earner in the family.

While there are fewer Americans earning poverty-level wages today than just a few decades ago, supporters of the Raise the Wage Act say that the federal minimum wage has failed to keep up with inflation and has less buying power now than it did in the 1960s.

“I live in the same working class neighborhood that I grew up in, and my neighbors are just like the families across Oregon and across America who are struggling to stay afloat on jobs that pay minimum wage,” Merkley said. “We all do better when we all do better, and we can start tackling the destructive opportunity gap that is eating away at our economy by raising the federal minimum wage. Nobody should work full time and live in poverty in America.”

On top of raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over six years, the Raise the Wage Act also promises to pin the federal minimum wage to overall wage growth so that it doesn't stagnate again, and guarantees that tipped workers get paid at least the federal minimum wage — ending the practice of allowing restaurant servers, for example, to be paid less than the minimum with the understanding that they will make up the difference in tips.

Supporters of the bill also say that it will give particular aid to women and workers of color. They also promise a boost to the economy by way of an estimated increase of $2 billion per year as minimum wage workers spend the additional earnings.

The bill was introduced with 181 cosponsors in the House and 31 cosponsors in the Senate.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 12438

Reported Deaths: 237
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah296672
Marion189354
Washington189221
Umatilla10418
Clackamas100628
Malheur4002
Union3692
Lincoln3615
Lane3093
Deschutes2680
Yamhill2059
Linn18210
Jackson1810
Polk17912
Jefferson1680
Morrow1541
Klamath1381
Wasco1171
Benton1156
Hood River1060
Douglas640
Josephine571
Clatsop550
Columbia540
Coos540
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa150
Baker120
Curry90
Sherman50
Gilliam20
Harney20
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 333357

Reported Deaths: 7089
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1363573824
Riverside25748550
Orange25255424
San Diego19929422
San Bernardino19502307
Fresno828288
Imperial7977136
Alameda7976148
San Joaquin698870
Kern660198
Santa Clara6542167
Tulare5942152
Sacramento571483
Stanislaus497351
Contra Costa485290
San Francisco459050
Ventura424653
San Mateo4045112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin370232
Kings297039
Monterey279018
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma181916
Placer111411
San Luis Obispo10065
Yolo92928
Madera8938
Santa Cruz5693
Napa5184
Lassen4280
Sutter4034
San Benito3622
Butte3384
El Dorado3070
Shasta2006
Yuba1983
Glenn1760
Humboldt1654
Nevada1631
Mendocino1320
Lake1211
Colusa1130
Tehama1071
Tuolumne730
Calaveras670
Del Norte610
Mono521
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo351
Mariposa321
Plumas190
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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