WASHINGTON – Rep. Keith Ellison recalled the time he was calling for more jobs at a Minneapolis forum and a woman told him the problem wasn't a lack of work. She had three jobs — but none paid more than $8 an hour.
"We need good jobs," Ellison, D-Minn., said at a rally of federal union workers in front of the Capitol building Wednesday.
Ellison and other lawmakers joined Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to announce a new push for a $15 federal minimum wage. The measure lacks support from Republicans who control Congress.
But key Senate Democrats are now on board, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York.
"Something is profoundly wrong when millions of people are working longer hours for lower wages," Sanders said.
The bill's supporters are trying to expand backing from outside the most progressive wing of the party, which has pursued minimum wages increases in several large U.S. cities.
In Minneapolis, the City Council is expected to approve a $15 minimum wage in the next few months.
"Local governments have been leading the way," Ellison said. He believes that as more cities approve similar laws, states and eventually the federal government will follow.