Striking McDonald's worker Abran Escarzaga, 31, protests outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, California, December 5, 2013
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Minimum wage hike could benefit nearly 28 million people


Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 could increase the pay of 27.8 million working Americans, according to a Thursday report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The report is an analysis of the Harkin-Miller Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, a proposed law supported by President Obama.

EPI first analyzed the economic impact of the Harkin-Miller law back in March, before a number of different states and cities increased their own minimum wages. Thanks to wage hikes in cities like Washington, D.C. and states like New Jersey, many workers have already been handed the pay hike they would have received under the Harkin-Miller Act. 

The Obama administration has been increasingly energetic in the past few months in advocating a minimum wage hike, suggesting that they may push it as a legislative priority when Congress reconvenes in 2014.

“I think it can be done,” said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez on Wednesday’s All In with Chris Hayes. “It’s enjoyed a rich bipartisan history.” Perez has previously described raising the minimum wage as “Job One for this administration.”

All In with Chris Hayes, 12/19/13, 12:12 AM ET

The fight for a higher minimum wage

Chris Hayes talks with Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.
Chris Hayes talks with Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.

While it didn’t get passed this year, a minimum wage hike might have a better shot with Congress in 2014, said National Employment Law Project executive director Christine Owens.

“I think particularly in an election year, once the primary season is past and the party nominees have been selected, and people have to moderate their views somewhat to play to a general electorate, we’re likely to see some greater willingness on the part of some Republicans to vote for a minimum wage increase,” she said.

By that time, Democrats may be demanding an even higher minimum wage.

“There’s increasing buzz that [$10.10] might not be adequate,” Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., told msnbc earlier this month. “When you think about it, we have not been keeping pace with inflation. We’re supportive of it, but we need to go beyond the least we can do.”