It’s been 12 years since the federal minimum wage went up. Republicans are still standing in the way


This past week, another state passed a minimum wage increase that will take it to $15. That’s Delaware, where the minimum wage will reach $15 in 2025. It will go from $9.25 per hour to $10.50 on Jan. 1. Delaware joins California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island in having passed a gradual increase to $15. The District of Columbia is already there, having gotten to $15.20 at the beginning of the month. Virginia has recently passed a minimum wage increase that could go to $15 in 2026 if the state legislature reenacts it—minimum wage workers there already got their first increase from $7.25 an hour to $9.50 an hour.

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 an hour. 

Increasing the minimum wage is a mainstream and popular thing to do. A recent poll put support for a $15 minimum wage at 62%, and those ballot measure votes—including in Florida in 2020, as the state went for Donald Trump—show that it’s not just something people tell pollsters. But Republican lawmakers are bitterly opposed, even as many Republican voters support it. And that’s why minimum wage workers in 20 states are still stuck at $7.25 an hour, 12 years after the federal rate last went up.

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