Anniversary of Last Minimum Wage Increase Highlights Need to Address Inequality

 

July 26th marked the 6-year anniversary of the last time the minimum wage was increased. Over the last few decades, cost of living has continued to rise while the minimum wage has been stagnant. As a result, workers with full-time jobs that pay minimum wage are no longer able to provide for their families. Income inequality in America has grown and wealth has become more concentrated in the hands of fewer Americans.

Addressing this issue is central to establishing wage equality for all workers but particularly women, as female employees are 60% more likely to be paid minimum wage than male employees.

I have consistently supported federal and local initiatives to increase the minimum wage, and was pleased to see the President institute an executive order that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for those working on new federal contracts.

In the current Congress, I am a proud original co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Education and Workforce Chairman Bobby Scott. This legislation would raise the minimum wage nationwide to $12.00 per hour by 2020. As our economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, we need policies that support investing in our workforce to ensure that everyone is sharing in the recovery. Increasing the national minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 would do so by making sure that hardworking employees earn a living wage.

In the 113th Congress, I supported raising the minimum wage both by cosponsoring the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 and by signing a discharge petition on raising the federal minimum wage.

My father, who worked as a baggage handler for United Airlines decades ago, made more money than someone doing the same job today. We need to ensure that American workers earn enough to support their families and make ends meet. I am committed to working with my colleagues so that the basic American premise still holds true — that if you work hard and are responsible, no matter the circumstances of your birth, you will have the chance to pursue your ambitions and achieve your full potential.