Sen. Bob Casey throws support behind raising federal minimum wage
Proposals to raise the minimum wage appear to be gaining traction this week at both the state and federal level.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, said he plans to cosponsor a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2024. Pennsylvania’s senior senator held out hope that increasing support among middle- and low-income voters and among House Democrats who now hold a majority in the lower chamber, bode well this year at the federal level. The minimum wage last increased by 10 cents an hour in 2009.
Casey’s announcement on Tuesday came a day after state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre County, said he would be open to negotiating a raise to Pennsylvania’s state minimum wage, which has been held at the $7.25 federal level since 2009.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, a longtime proponent of raising the wage cap, renewed his call for action last month. At his inauguration, Wolf said he wants to raise the state minimum wage to $12.25 an hour this year and $15 an hour by 2025.
Pennsylvania is among 20 states that have kept the state minimum wage at $7.25 an hour. Meanwhile, states surrounding Pennsylvania boosted their minimum wage to anywhere from $8.55 to $11.10 an hour.
In Washington, Casey, who previously cosponsored a measure to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020, outlined the major provisions of the Raise the Wage Act of 2019. It would:
• Raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next six years.
• Index future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage growth.
• Guarantee teenage workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage.
• End sub-minimum wage certificates for individuals with disabilities.
“For far too long, working families have gotten the short end of the stick. I’m proud to join my colleagues in the fight to ensure economic stability for all working Americans by raising wages and eliminating loopholes that target young workers and individuals with disabilities,” Casey said, urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote on the bill.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .