(Washington) The rise in the minimum wage in the United States, failed promise of Joe Biden, returns to Congress under the leadership of left-wing senator Bernie Sanders, who wants to raise it to 17 dollars an hour, a text which however has little chances of meeting a sufficient majority.

“In 2023, in the richest country in the history of the world, no one should be forced to work for poverty wages,” Bernie Sanders said at a press conference outside the Capitol in Washington.

“It’s not a radical idea. If you work 40, 50 hours a week, you shouldn’t be living in poverty. It’s time to raise the minimum wage to make it a living wage, “said this figure of the progressive movement, alongside workers and union leaders.

The minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour, and has not changed since 2009. Some states, however, impose a higher minimum wage, up to $15.74 in Washington State .

President Joe Biden had tried unsuccessfully to pass $15 an hour. For lack of anything better, in April 2021 he raised the minimum wage for federal government contract workers to this level.

But, faced with the high inflation in the United States, the subject is once again topical.

The $15 minimum exists in fact for many employees. The country has been experiencing a labor shortage for two years, and many companies have raised wages to attract and retain workers. But that is slowing as the job market returns to more normal functioning.

About 35 million American workers still earn less than $17 an hour, Bernie Sanders said. He said a Senate committee will prepare the text for a vote in June.

The $17 matches “the purchasing power of $15 just two years ago,” Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic policy institute (EPI), a progressive think tank, said at the press conference.

She pointed out that increases in the minimum wage reduce inequality and poverty, and lead to less child abuse, less teenage pregnancy, fewer suicides or recidivism among ex-convicts.

And it “reduces staff turnover, which is good for productivity,” the economist added.