(NEXSTAR) – President-elect Joe Biden announced a sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery plan that includes, along with $1,400 stimulus checks to many Americans, a hike in the federal minimum wage to “at least $15 an hour.”
“No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line,” Biden said while addressing the nation Thursday. “That’s what it means, if you work for less than $15 an hour and work 40 hours a week, you’re living in poverty.”
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It was last raised in 2009.
“People tell me that’s going to be hard to pass – Florida just passed it, as divided as that state is they just passed it,” Biden said. “The rest of the country is ready to move as well.”
He went on to address rising income inequality during the pandemic, separating Wall Street gains from “the real economy,” in which people rely on their “paychecks, not investments” to feed their families.
According to a 2019 report from the Congressional Budget Office, raising the minimum wage to $15 would boost the incomes of some 17 million people, raising 1.3 million Americans out of poverty. Another 1.3 million Americans would lose their jobs because employers would deem them too expensive to hire, the report found.
A 2019 Pew Research Center poll found that two thirds of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.