WASHINGTON, DC—Yesterday, Congress approved a bill that would increase minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour. More than half of the 50 states already have a minimum wage higher than the current federal minimum wage, and seven states’ minimum wage is higher than $7.25, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a research group.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 348 to 73. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 80 to 14.

The bill will put in place $4.84 billion in tax breaks to help small business owners who might be affected by the federal minimum wage increase.

If signed by the president as expected, the first increase in minimum wage in 10 years would occur in three stages during two years.

The minimum wage increase was added to the bill that provided funding for the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.