Some Democrats split over $15 minimum wage movement

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The fight for 15 is sweeping across the country. Six states, plus a number of big cities, plan to enact a $15 minimum wage by 2025.  

And now a plan to make it nationwide is gaining support among Democrats. 

“I think that it’s important that we move the minimum wage up. I just don’t believe that a one size approach is the best approach.”  

Alabama Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell says a blanket $15 federal minimum wage fails to account for the big difference between small-town Alabama and New York City.  

“My friends talk about having to park their car and having to pay $35. My hometown of Selma, Alabama nobody is paying $35 to park their car a month, let alone for a day.”  

That’s why Sewell says going to 15 for the whole country at the same time is a bad idea. She says it could hurt small businesses in rural areas and lead to layoffs. 

This week, Sewell and a dozen other Democrats offered their own plan. It would raise the federal minimum wage more gradually based on the cost of living in a particular area. 

Leaders in the Fight For 15 movement don’t like it.  

$15 is the bare minimum said one union president. A McDonald’s employee in Memphis, Tennessee added it “will do nothing but keep people stuck in poverty.”  

“I don’t think we should be randomly increasing the minimum wage just because it makes a good talking point,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman.  

Republicans like Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman are skeptical of both plans. And that means neither has a great chance of becoming law anytime soon.  

What the competing minimum wage bills do represent is a battle within the Democratic Party over how hard to push liberal policies as they shape their message for the 2020 elections. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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