As the pandemic keeps taking a toll on the U.S. economy, President-elect Joe Biden is looking to give millions of Americans a raise.
Hiking the federal minimum wage is just part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan to put more money in people’s pockets.
Travis Stuart of Palm Beach County said he feels fortunate to have a job.
“I see families in my community they line up for food boxes at the churches and stuff, and two years ago it wasn’t like that,” Stuart said.
Biden said Thursday night he wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of his new stimulus plan.
“People tell me that it will be hard to pass. Florida just passed it as divided as that state is,” Biden said Thursday.
Florida voters approved raising the state’s minimum wage in a referendum in November, putting the wage at $15 an hour by 2026.
It’s not clear if Biden’s proposal would speed that timeline.
“The Biden plan is ambitious. It’s expensive. It’s a little like a wish list,” Bankrate senior economist Mark Hamrick.
Hamrick said raising the wage has become widely popular in several states.
“Florida is a great example of how we do see grassroots movements pushing state minimums higher,” Hamrick said.
The Biden plan would also raise the wage for food service workers, which is normally set lower.
“I’m in the service industry, so my minimum wage would go up, then my tips would go down. I make my money off of cash,” said Stuart.
It’s unknown if Biden’s plan would speed up the minimum wage scale, which in Florida is scheduled to go from the current $8.65 an hour to $10 an hour Sept. 30 and rise every year by a dollar until it reaches $15.
“Broadly speaking, the idea of a minimum wage is not something that’s controversial. That’s a little more problematic is where it should be set and how to apply it to a variety of businesses and whether you should have a national standard for that,” Hamrick said.
Among the other proposals Biden outlined Thursday:
- $1,400 stimulus payment
- More unemployment aid
- Eviction moratorium