Sen. Bernie Sanders declared victory Saturday after the Democratic party platform committee announced support for the $15 minimum wage.
Sanders introduced a bill in July 2015 aimed to pass the increase on the federal level and has held numerous rallies in support of the policy. The Democratic National Platform Committee included language in its drafted party platform proposal Friday supporting the increase as well.
“Increasing the minimum wage would directly benefit 62 million workers who currently make less than $15 an hour, including over half of African-American workers and close to 60 percent of Latino workers,” the Sanders campaign stated in a press release. “If the minimum wage had kept up with productivity and inflation since 1968, it would be more than $26 an hour today.”
The committee is merely responsible for proposing an official party platform. Democratic party delegates will vote on the suggested platform during the convention held in Philadelphia between July 25 and 28. Democrats tend to support the $15 minimum wage but it has not yet been an official party position.
“We should raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over time and index it, give all Americans the ability to join a union regardless of where they work,” the proposed party platform states. “And create new ways for workers to have power in the economy so every worker can earn at least $15 an hour.”
The Fight for $15 movement also pushed the committee to support the $15 minimum wage throughout its drafting process, and helped lead the policy push on the national and local level since it started in 2012. The movement confronted committee members June 8 in Washington, D.C. to demand the policy become an official party position.
Economists and other experts have found both positive and negative results when studying the $15 minimum wage but generally agree job loss is a risk. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found any increase in the minimum wage could result in at least some job loss. The University of California, Berkeley found the losses are marginal compared to the potential benefit.
Other experts argue the impact will be much worse. The National Bureau of Economic Research and The Heritage Foundation determined the impact of a higher minimum wage is especially bad for young and low-skilled workers. The White House Council of Economic Advisers warned in a report Feb. 22 that low-skilled workers are the most at risk of being replaced by computers.
The committee also decided to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week as well. President Barack Obama finalized the deal Oct. 5 but it has remained a major wedge between him and many within his own party. The trade deal could have a significant impact on global trade at roughly 39 percent of global GDP. It is the largest regional trade deal in history.
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