Senate to Vote on Raising Federal Minimum Wage - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Senate to Vote on Raising Federal Minimum Wage

Posted: Updated: - The U.S. Senate is set to vote Wednesday on raising the federal minimum wage.

The Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 2223) would gradually raise the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016.

In Washington state, that means minimum wage workers would make an average raise of about $375 annually.

Republicans are expected to block the measure, saying lawmakers should focus on bills that will create jobs instead.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) wants to raise the federal minimum wage. On Tuesday, the senator gave a speech on the Senate floor, emphasizing that two-thirds of those making minimum wage are women, some of which are working mothers.

"They can't save up for a car, much less a house." said Murray. "They can't pay for school to get new skills and a new job, and they can't even afford to buy their children with warm winter clothes or basic medical care."

She also highlighted how Washington state is already benefiting from the highest wage in the country. 

"Job growth has continued at a rate above the national average," said Murray. "Payrolls in our restaurants and in our bars have expanded because more people have more money in their pockets to spend out at dinner at night or on the weekend...and poverty in Washington state has trailed the national level for at least 7 years."

Democrats say this wage increase is a matter of fairness. They also see this as a political advantage, saying it shows the GOP does not want to help struggling families.

The federal minimum wage was last raised back in 2009 to the current $7.25 an hour.