The House voted 231 to 199, largely on party lines, on July 18 to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009, the longest time the country has gone without a minimum wage increase since it was established in 1938. If enacted, the bill would more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour – a move that would increase wages for 27 million workers, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis.
NLIHC supports increasing the federal minimum wage to help bridge the gap between incomes and rents. NLIHC’s Out of Reach 2019 report found that a worker earning the federal minimum wage must work nearly 127 hours per week – more than three full-time jobs – to afford a two-bedroom rental home or 103 hours per week – more than 2.5 full-time jobs – to afford a one-bedroom rental home at the national average fair market rent.
It is important for policymakers to know, however, that while raising the minimum wage is critically important, it alone will not solve the housing affordability crisis. In many communities, a $15 minimum wage provides less than what is needed to afford a modest one- or two-bedroom apartment.
The bill now heads to the Senate.