February 2, 2007

Whitehouse Votes for First Minimum Wage Increase in a Decade

Democratic-Led Senate Keeps Its Promise to Working Families

Washington, D.C. – In the new Democratic-led Senate, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) voted with an overwhelming majority of Senators yesterday to pass the first minimum wage increase in ten years. The bill raises the federal minimum wage by $2.10 an hour over two years, to $7.25.

“The American people sent a powerful message that it’s time for Washington to focus on the needs of working families, not big corporations,” Whitehouse said. “Democrats listened – and we kept our promise. Raising the minimum wage helps make sure more people in this country are earning the income they need to provide for their families and lift themselves out of poverty.”

Increasing the federal minimum wage will be an enormous step forward in the battle against poverty in America. Due to inflation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reports, the total income of a family of four supported by one minimum-wage earner sagged about $1,550 below the poverty line in 2006, even when food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) were taken into account. Raising the minimum wage to $7.25, as the Senate did today, could boost that family’s income to about $2,615 over the poverty line in 2009.

Working families also face high housing, child care, and health care costs that an increase in the minimum wage could help mitigate, according to the CBPP.


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