Durbin Pushes For Minimum Wage of At Least $12 an Hour
John Gregory -- Illinois Radio Network
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is backing a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 -- which is more ambitious than Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal.
Durbin says Republican positions on raising the minimum wage show how "out of touch some elected officials are with the reality of life." As for Rauner's plan, which would raise the Illinois minimum wage by 25 cents every year, hitting $10 per hour by 2022, Durbin says that's not good enough.
"Increasing the minimum wage, as the governor suggested, by 25 cents an hour, is embarrassing," Durbin said. "He is just not in touch with real working families."
Durbin wishes this legislation could aim for a higher wage than $12, but he considers it "a good start." He says only a handful of Republicans are open to an increase, but feels that support should be tested.
The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Illinois' wage is at $8.25 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour, but this bill proposes phasing out that separate rate.
Illinois voters in November voted 66 percent to raise the minimum wage to $10 by this year, but the measure was advisory, and state lawmakers have not acted on that.