House OKs minimum wage hike for first time in a decade

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has approved legislation to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $15 an hour.

Democrats pushed through the bill Thursday with a party-line vote of 231-199, but it has almost no chance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

A hike in the $7.25 hourly wage has been a top Democratic campaign promise. It's intended to address income inequality that's driving the 2020 political debate. The legislation, for the first time, would pay tipped workers the same as others earning the minimum, boosting their pay to $15 an hour, too. It's now $2.13.

Republicans balked at the wage hike, saying it would cost jobs. States are already able to raise the wage beyond the federal minimum, and many have done so.

U.S. Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin released a statement following the bill's approval, saying :

“The Raise the Wage Act gives a well-deserved raise to nearly a quarter of the workforce and takes a step in the right direction to level the playing field. When workers have more money in their pockets, they have more money to spend to care for their families and stimulate our economy. Now that the House has acted, Senate Majority Leader McConnell should listen to American workers and bring this bill up for a vote.”