The Senate on Thursday advanced legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The bill, which would also provide $1,000 cash to states to pay for child care and $1 for the purchase of meals, is the first time Congress has raised the federal wage floor since 2009, and the first in the House.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) told reporters that she was not ready to pass the bill until the details were more fully known, but she was working to secure enough votes in her party to bring it to the floor.
The Senate has not yet agreed on whether to approve the measure, and Republicans have argued that the $15 bill does not go far enough, saying it would create a wage floor in Washington that is far too high for most Americans.
Senate Democrats have said that if they are not able to pass a $16 federal minimum, they will try to raise it to $12.50 per hour and pass a bill that increases the wage to a living wage.
Murray has said that raising the minimum wage would only raise the price of living in Washington and not to the point that the federal government would have to make up the difference by taxing workers.
Senators have also been considering a plan to raise the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour by 2021.
The bill would require employers to provide paid sick leave, paid family leave, and paid family and medical leave to employees.
But Republicans have rejected the idea of a $7 minimum wage, arguing that it is too low and will lead to layoffs.
Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) said the bill could increase the number of people on food stamps from 7.4 million to 10 million people.
Sen.(D-S.D.) told The Hill that she had discussed the bill with her husband and had not decided on whether or not she would vote for it.
“The bill does provide the opportunity to provide a living minimum wage in this country,” Baldwin said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D, Minn.) also told The Washington Post that she supported the bill and was not sure if she would support it.
“We’re all trying to make sure that this bill is a good bill and that we get it passed,” Klobochar said.
Sen-elect Jon Tester (D.-Mont.) said he did not know if he would vote in favor of the bill.
Sen._s Cory Booker (D.N.J.) said it was an important issue for all of us and I will support it.
“Sen. Joe Manchin (D.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told The Post he supports the bill but has reservations about how much it will increase the cost of living.