At a rally to implement a living wage on Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that he was introducing legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, calling the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour “a starvation wage.” On Wednesday, Sanders responded to the arrest and subsequent death of Sandra Bland saying, “It would be very hard to imagine a white middle class woman being treated in the same way as Sandra Bland was.” And last weekend, Sanders said he supports efforts to reinstate legislation that regulated the financial industry. The law’s repeal in 1999 “precipitated the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world,” Sanders said.
Fight for $15
Addressing hundreds of low-wage workers who have gone on strike for a living wage, Sanders on Wednesday said legislation he introduced would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. “It is a national disgrace that millions of full-time workers are living in poverty and millions more are forced to work two or three jobs just to pay their bills,” Sanders said at the outdoor rally near the Capitol. “In the year 2015, a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised to a living wage.” Increasing the minimum wage would directly benefit 62 million workers who currently make less than $15 an hour, including over half of African-American workers and close to 60 percent of Latino workers. Watch Sanders’ speech here. Read more here.
Following the release of footage depicting Sandra Bland’s arrest for a minor traffic violation on Tuesday, Sanders strongly condemned the “totally outrageous police behavior” shown in the video. “This video highlights once again why we need real police reform. People should not die for a minor traffic infraction. This type of police abuse has become an all-too-common occurrence for people of color and it must stop," he said. On MSNBC’s The Ed Show Wednesday, Sanders called for reforms to sentencing guidelines, our drug policy and use of force policies within police departments. Watch the interview here.
Sanders said late last week that he strongly supports a bill by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to reinstate the post-Depression Glass-Steagall Act, which regulated the financial services industry and was repealed in 1999 despite Sanders objections at the time. Looking back today, Sanders said that allowing commercial banks to merge with investment banks and insurance companies in 1999 was a huge mistake. “It precipitated the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world. It caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college. It substantially increased wealth and income inequality. And it led to the enormous concentration of economic power in this country.” Read more here.