New York's junior senator is staging a fight to raise the federal minimum wage to more than $10 an hour.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, wants to see the minimum wage go up to $10.10 an hour, rising in 95 cent increments over three years. That's higher than the $9 President Barack Obama called for in January. The country's minimum wage currently is $7.25 an hour.
Gillibrand says the wage increase would benefit about 1.8 million New Yorkers, or about a fifth of the workforce.
The bill faces an uphill battle, with limited support in the Senate.
"I think the more we discuss this issue, the more it will become obvious that it’s an economic engine that will be able to help the U.S. economy to grow," Gillibrand said in a conference call with reporters.
"If you increase the amount of money millions of low-wage workers earn, you’re going to increase demand," Gillibrand says. "And so the overall affect is a growth in [gross domestic product]."
Separately, lawmakers in New York struck a deal this week as part of budget negotiations to raise the state's minimum wage to $9.