- President-elect Joe Biden's new stimulus package included an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
- Biden cited the passage of the minimum-wage increase in Florida as reasoning for passing this measure for the whole country.
- Lawmakers and economists disagree on the effects the wage increase will have on the economy, with conservatives noting concerns for labor markets.
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President-elect Joe Biden's newly unveiled stimulus plan includes a federal minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, although the measure is likely to face pushback in Congress.
Currently set at $7.25 an hour, Biden moved to nearly double the country's minimum wage in his $1.9 trillion economic relief package. The plan would also include the elimination of separate minimum-wage thresholds for workers who receive tips and workers with disabilities — a statement that received wide support due to its inclusivity of all workers.
"No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line," Biden said in a speech on Thursday. "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. The rest of the country is ready to move as well."
In November, Florida passed a ballot measure that moved to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is significant because although a minimum wage increase is a primary issue for Democrats, the measure passed in a state that President Donald Trump won.
The federal minimum wage has not seen an increase since 2009, and economists disagree on the impact raising the wage would have, with conserative economists saying it would increase labor costs and hurt the economy, and progressive economists saying the opposite, Insider previously reported.
And in 2019, a measure to increase the minimum wage passed the House but was blocked in Senate, with Republicans citing concerns of damages to the labor market.
However, Biden holds firm in supporting the increase and has public opinion on his side, with fast-food workers striking to increase minimum wage on Friday, and similar movements being seen over the past few years.
There is not a clear timeframe for increasing the minimum wage as detailed in the plan, though, so the status of the increase remains uncertain and is expected to be divisive in Congress.
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