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House Passes $15 Minimum Wage Bill

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In a landmark measure, the House of Representatives passed a bill raising the federal minimum hourly wage for U.S. workers to $15.

The bill, co-sponsored by more than 190 Democrats, passed by a 231-199 vote in the Democratic-controlled House. However, the bill's passage in the Republicans-controlled Senate is in doubt.

The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 calls for a gradual increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2025.

For more than a decade, there has been no increase in the federal minimum wage - the longest period in U.S. history.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, increasing the federal minimum wage would have two main effects on low-wage workers.

For most low-wage workers, earnings and family income would increase, which would lift some families out of poverty. But other low-wage workers would become jobless, and their family income would fall, the office stated.

The CBO estimates gradually raising the minimum wage would lift 1.3 Americans out of poverty, including 600,000 children.

The House Education and Labor Committee says the new law would give up to 33 million Americans a raise.

"Once fully phased in, this translates into an annual pay increase of about $2,760 for the average affected year-round worker," the committee said.

Meanwhile, major business organizations criticized the passage of the bill, which they claim would lead to massive job losses, lost production, and income reduction on a national scale.

National Federation of Independent Business President & CEO Juanita D. Duggan said the House dealt a devastating blow to small businesses, risking record growth, job creation, and already increasing wages.

Seven states, including New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts, have already enacted plans to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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