Rep. Wild Votes to Pass Raise the Wage Act, Increase Pay for Up to 33 Million American Workers
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) voted to pass the Raise the Wage Act, landmark legislation to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 over six years and restore the value of work in our economy by lifting struggling workers and their families out of poverty. According to independent economic analysis, the bill would increase pay for up to 33 million American workers, including nearly 98,400 workers in Pennsylvania’s Seventh District.
“No one working full-time in American should be living in poverty,” Wild said. “While corporations are making record profits off the backs of workers – wage stagnation and increased cost of living have bankrupted hard-working families throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley. Our workers deserve better. This bill recognizes the dignity of our workers and is a firm commitment to giving them a fair chance to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, to fight the record income and wealth inequality across our country, and to get to work building an economy that delivers for all Americans.”
The Raise the Wage Act is an important step toward delivering on House Democrats’ promise to restore the value of work and raise wages for American workers. After more than 10 years without an increase in the federal minimum wage – the longest stretch in history – low-wage workers have suffered a 17 percent pay cut due to inflation. There is no place in America where a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 can afford the basic necessities for themselves and their families and $7.25 is less than the federal minimum wage of 50 years ago when adjusted for inflation.
“Frankly, raising the minimum wage is long overdue. It has officially been the longest period of time without an increase to the federal minimum wage – an issue that was once inherently bipartisan and uncontroversial,” Wild continued. “This effort has broad support – from voters of every political party to some of America’s largest corporations who once opposed raising the minimum wage – because a responsible, gradual increase is good for workers, it’s good for businesses, and it’s good for our economy.”
“Today, House Democrats took a major step toward raising wages for up to 33 million American workers. After more than 10 years with no increase in the federal minimum wage – the longest stretch in history – the minimum wage is now a poverty wage everywhere in America. The Raise the Wage Act reflects the basic idea that hardworking Americans working full-time should not live in poverty,” said Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03), House Committee on Education and Labor. “I commend my colleagues for taking this important step towards creating an economy that works for everyone. Now, Senate Republicans must decide to either stand with American workers or turn their backs on hardworking people across the country.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office’s review of a similar proposal the Raise the Wage Act would lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, including 600,000 children.
The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 would:
- Gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next six years, lifting millions of workers out of poverty, stimulating local economies, and restoring the value of minimum wage
- Index future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage growth to ensure the value of minimum waged does not once again erode over time
- Narrow the gender pay gap. Evidence shows that raising the minimum wage is a step toward pay equity. In states where the minimum wage is at or above $8.25 an hour, the gender wage gap is 41 percent smaller than states where the minimum wage is lower.
Wild’s spoke in support of the bill on the House floor ahead of the vote, full remarks available here and below.
Thank you, Mr./Madam Speaker.
There should not be anybody in this room arguing that $7.25 an hour is sufficient for a worker’s well-being. When adjusting for inflation, $7.25 is less than the federal minimum wage of 50 years ago. I support this bill because 98,000 workers in my District in Pennsylvania deserve a long-overdue raise.
We are now in the midst of the longest period of time without an increase to the federal minimum wage. I support this bill because while corporations are making record profits off the backs of workers – wage stagnation and increased cost of living have bankrupted hard-working families across my District.
This bill would increase the minimum wage gradually. This is not a "bad for business" piece of legislation as my colleagues across the aisle allege. This is a good for everyone bill that puts more money into our workers profits. Our colleagues of the past would be baffled by the opposition to this bill. The Federal Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938 for the explicit purpose of protecting workers from substandard wages. And that landmark bill passed the House with a vote of 291 to 89. By the letter of that law, the minimum standard of living necessary for a worker’s well-being is in Congress’ hands. Members of both parties chose not to leave it up to market forces because poverty-level wages, sweat shops, and poor working conditions shouldn’t happen in the United States of America in 1938 or 2019.