By Kelley Czajka, Pacific Standard, July 18, 2019.
The United States House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, higher than any current state minimum wage and more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The bill is likely to face challenges in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009, and its value has been decreasing with inflation over the last 10 years. A yearly salary on $7.25 per hour comes out to about $15,000 per year, putting workers with families of two or more with no second source of income below the federal poverty level.
Although the federal government sets a base minimum wage, states can pass laws to implement a higher minimum wage. Currently, 16 states and Puerto Rico have set a state minimum wage equal to the federal minimum wage, and another five have no set minimum wage, thus defaulting to the federal minimum wage.