U.S. Congress will consider a $15 minimum wage for the second time soon. Joe Biden and most congressional Democrats want to more than double the minimum hourly wage from its current level of $7.25. Although Democrats have this policy goal, survey data (see below) show that the majority of Republican voters actually support raising the minimum wage as well, just not to a level as high as $15.
An incorrect common stereotype exists that says that Republicans don’t want to raise minimum wage at all. While Republicans don’t necessarily support raising the minimum wage all the way to $15, at least some are inclined to raise it to a certain extent. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) were among five Republicans who even unveiled a plan for $10 an hour.
Some compromise from both parties is likely required to raise the minimum wage, considering that the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that a minimum wage provision does not comply with the “Byrd rule” for budget reconciliation in the Senate. Reconciliation is a “process that allows the Senate to make changes to federal tax and spending policy with a simple majority, rather than requiring the usual 60-vote threshold.”
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Another common stereotype is that all Democrats want a $15 minimum wage. In fact, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have stated that they do not support this measure. Manchin, however, supports an increase to around $11 an hour.
We can see here that the party lines are not as obvious as stereotypes might suggest. They overlap in a number of ways, and both Republicans and Democrats have the opportunity to pass some kind of minimum wage increase if they realize they have more in common on this issue.
Recent survey data showing shared views among Democrats and Republicans on minimum wage below.
(Survey conducted February 26, 2021 - March 1, 2021)
- 51% of Republicans supported increasing minimum wage
The Harris Poll/Yahoo Times
(Survey conducted January 29, 2021 - February 1, 2021)
- 83% agreed that the current federal minimum wage rate of $7.25/hour was not enough for an individual to live on
- 74% of Americans agreed that a worker should be able to afford a 1-bedroom apartment with a full-time job paying the federal minimum wage
(Survey conducted August 28, 2020 - August 31, 2020)
- 72% of Americans supported raising the minimum wage, including 87% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans
The Common Ground of the American People/Program for Public Consultation - School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
(Survey published August 2020)
- 74% of Americans, including 89% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans supported raising the minimum wage to $9
Data For Progress/Vox
(Survey conducted February 19, 2020 - February 22, 2020)
- 70% of Republicans and 59% of Independents supported an $11 minimum wage
Pew Research Center
(Survey conducted April 29, 2019 - May 13, 2019)
- 56% of Republicans with annual incomes of less than $40,000 said they favored raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour
Bella Jasper is currently a high school student who is deeply interested in politics and journalism. In her writing, she hopes to provide a sense of commonality in politics. Bella has a Lean Left bias.
This piece was edited by AllSides.com Managing Editor Henry A. Brechter (Center bias) and News Editor Micaela Ricaforte (Center bias), and was reviewed by James Coan (Center) of Braver Angels.