At the second presidential debate on Thursday, Donald Trump and Joe Biden discussed a variety of topics, ranging from race in American to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change. But one particular topic — the federal minimum wage — was a huge source of contention between the two candidates. Both Biden and President Trump presented their vastly different views on the matter.

Biden supports the implementation of a $15 federal minimum wage, more than double the current $7.25 minimum wage. And some states, such as Wyoming and Georgia, have a minimum wage at a staggering $5.15 per hour. Because states have the jurisdiction to set their own minimum wage, there is a huge degree of variability among regions in the U.S. On the other end of the spectrum is Washington D.C., whose minimum wage is $15.

Biden demonstrated a key part of his platform — elevating the status of workers. “No one should work one job, be below poverty,” he said. “People are making six, seven, eight bucks an hour. These first responders we all clap for as they come down the street because they’ve allowed us to make it. What’s happening? They deserve a minimum wage of $15. Anything below that puts you below the poverty level,” Biden said on Thursday.

Trump, on the other hand, said that the issue should be resolved by the individual states. “Alabama is different than New York. New York is different from Vermont. Every state is different.” He argues that when the minimum wage is raised, small businesses will begin to fire many of their employees.

 

When pressured by the moderator, Kristen Welker, Trump said he would consider raising the federal minimum wage, but he did not provide any more specific information. Public opinion, however, reveals broad support for an increase to $15 an hour, which would come to roughly $31,200 a year before taxes.

Last year, the House passed a bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15, but the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to take up the issue. With the bill, 1.3 million people would be lifted out of poverty by 2025, but it could also potentially result in the loss of 1.3 million jobs.

The fate of the federal minimum wage rests on the result of the election, which is now only 9 days away.