Biden pushes for increasing minimum wage to $15 an hour

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MIAMI (NEXSTAR) — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pushed his plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour if he defeats President Donald Trump in November.

Biden made the comments Monday afternoon while campaigning in Florida.

“Fifteen dollars should be a minimum wage in the United States of America. Period,” Biden said.

His economic plans include raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and expanding health insurance access, as well as investing billions of dollars in childcare, early childhood education and college tuition assistance.

“Joe understands that if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said while stumping for Biden in Michigan Monday. “Joe also understands that it is absurd that women in America are earning 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.”

Biden also wants to provide a $15,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and other housing assistance.

The former vice president has laid out his plan to increase minimum wage on his website:

 As Vice President, Biden helped get state and local laws increasing the minimum wage across the finish line – including in New York State – and has supported eliminating the tipped minimum wage. He firmly believes all Americans are owed a raise, and it’s well past time we increase the federal minimum wage to $15 across the country. This increase would include workers who aren’t currently earning the minimum wage, like the farmworkers who grow our food and domestic workers who care for our aging and sick and for those with disabilities. As president, Biden will also support indexing the minimum wage to the median hourly wage so that low-wage workers’ wages keep up with those of middle income workers. 

Critics accuse Biden of being silent about how the raise will be paid for and suggest employers may decrease hiring because of the financial burden.

Nation’s crisis “far from over

Biden also noted he’s glad Trump appears to have made a swift recovery from the coronavirus, but he notes that “our nation’s current crisis is far from over.”

Trump tweeted earlier Monday that he was leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the evening after a three-day stay for the coronavirus. He announced his diagnosis early Friday.

Biden says, “I was glad to see the president speaking and recording videos over the weekend. Now that he’s busy tweeting campaign messages, I would him to do this: Listen to the scientists.”

He also urged Trump to support a nationwide mask mandate in federal buildings, saying he himself backed it months ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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