Earlier this week, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law an act that will drastically raise the city’s minimum wage, making the District the latest addition to the list of cities that have adopted similar reform.
The Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2016 will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Currently, the DC minimum wage is $10.50 but will increase to $11.50 in July as a result of 2014 legislation. Tipped minimum wage, which is currently $2.77, will increase to $5 by 2020.
President Obama voiced his support for the move commending the District of Columbia, Bowser, and the DC Council.
“No American working full-time in this country should struggle to make ends meet,” the statement reads. “America deserves a raise.”
Obama hasn’t always supported a minimum wage increase this large — and the same goes for many other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. Since the Bernie Sanders campaign and the rise of the “Fight for $15” movement, Democrats have faced pressure to become more ambitious in their minimum wage goals.
The Fight for $15 movement has already gained traction in certain cities and states around the country. On its webpage, cities like Chicago, Seattle, and Portland are all hailed as victories for their recent legislative acts — as are New York and California, which have both passed statewide referendums to raise the minimum wage to $15.
But there’s some debate about whether a $15 minimum wage will ultimately be good for workers. Economists believe there is a possibility that such a drastic increase in the minimum wage could cost significant jobs. But other economists disagree. One study from the University of California Berkeley predicts that in New York state, where the minimum wage is scheduled to rise to $15 by 2021, employment will actually increase slightly.
Only time will tell.