Experts from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) argue that the U.S. economy could well afford a federal minimum wage increase to $12 an hour by 2020 -- a proposal that could impact nearly 38 million workers.
EPI researchers make their case for a $12 minimum wage in a report released Thursday, the same day the new "Raise the Wage Act" was introduced to Congress by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA,3).
Under the Raise the Wage Act, the federal hourly minimum wage would go up gradually from the current figure of $7.25 to $12 by 2020. Raise the Wage Act proponents are taking to social media Thursday afternoon for a "Twitterstorm" using the hashtags #RaiseTheWage, #12by2020 and #1FairWage.
"If you go to work and work hard for 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty in America," said U.S. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), who joined Murray and Scott in introducing the bill. "The Raise the Wage Act will increase wages for 38 million workers -- more than one in four -- and lift millions out of poverty. In Illinois alone, 1.6 million workers -- 28 percent of the state's workforce -- will see an average increase in wages of $3,200 a year. That helps families get off government support programs and give them more money to spend and put back into our economy."
For-profit employers would be barred from using religious beliefs to deny contraception coverage or other federally mandated health services to their employees under federal legislation introduced Wednesday.
With Social Security reform on the table during congressional budget talks to reduce federal
spending, about a
dozen protesters, most of which were retirees, gathered in downtown
Chicago Thursday to call on Congress to reject proposals that
“balance the budget on the backs of seniors.”
protesters urged Illinois’ congressional delegates to reject any
legislative proposal that boosts the retirement age above 67,
increases means testing for Medicare premiums or changes
cost-of-living-adjustments to a chained Consumer Price Index (CPI)
“This is becoming a budgetary issue, but it’s a
matter of priorities,” said Jay Lewkowitz, 65, congressional district
coordinator for the NCPSSM. “Our country needs to tell Congress that taking care of an
aging population and making sure our safety net stays intact is a
priority for us.”
Environmental advocacy groups are speaking out against
“anti-environment” amendments attached to the Senate’s budget
resolution. Although the amendments are non-binding, a representative
from Environment Illinois said it’s “unfortunate” to see some lawmakers use a budget proposal for “reckless attacks” on the environment.
not right to see senators taking the opportunity, during the proposal
of a budget resolution, to attack the environment,” said Seth Berkman,
federal field associate for Environment Illinois. “These amendments have
nothing to do with passing a budget resolution. Unfortunately, our
opponents use any opportunity they have to attack environmental