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$15 Federal Minimum Wage Bill Clears House Hurdle

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted to pass a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

If identical legislation is also passed by the Senate, the bill would then need to be signed into law by President Trump before the federal minimum wage would rise to $15 from its current level of $7.25.

The House bill provides for an escalation in increases over a six-year period, with the minimum wage rising to $8.40 this year before reaching $15 in 2025.

Raising the federal minimum wage is an issue that has been the subject of great debate. The last time Congress determined the issue, and set the current base level, was 10 years ago. The concern is over whether an increase in the minimum wage would end up causing job losses as companies that are unable to afford the increase look instead to cut costs.

According to different reports, a hike in the minimum wage would help 33 million Americans and up their standard of living, helping many to get off the poverty line. However, the Congressional Budget Office believes that the increase could also evaporate 3.7 million jobs.

That said, many states, including New York, have on their own initiative raised the minimum standard to $15 an hour.