Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On the Minimum Wage, There IS a Better Way
Today, we introduced the Working Families Wage & Access to Health Care Act – a comprehensive package to increase the minimum wage, expand access to affordable health care, and protect small businesses and their workers. Because of a provision added to an unrelated House Rules package last week, tomorrow’s minimum wage debate will not follow regular order, meaning no Committee hearings on the legislation will be held and no opportunities for amendments to improve the bill on the House floor will be made available. In fact, we won’t even be permitted to go before the Rules Committee to make our case for a fair, open, and honest debate.
However, we’re optimistic that as Congress moves forward with minimum wage legislation, steps will be taken to improve the Democrat leadership’s legislation so a more balanced measure can be sent to the President’s desk. Last month, President Bush detailed his desire to work with Members to forge an agreement that both raises the minimum wage and protects small businesses and their workers. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last week signaled his willingness to do the same. And we believe the Working Families Wage & Access to Health Care Act would add the momentum needed to improve the unbalanced proposal we’re slated to consider tomorrow.
The Working Families Wage & Access to Health Care Act includes the same minimum wage language as H.R. 2, the so-called “Fair Minimum Wage Act.” However, the comprehensive alternative includes important protections for small businesses and their workers, as well as reforms to expand working families’ access to affordable health care.
Following is a summary of the Working Families Wage & Access to Health Care Act:
I. Raising the Federal Minimum Wage
Identical to the House Democrat leadership’s proposal, the Working Families Wage & Access to Health Care Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to increase the current federal minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over two years. The increase would occur in the following increments:
II. Expanding Access to Affordable Health Care
III. Protecting Small Businesses and their Workers
Specifically, the Working Families Wage & Access to Health Care Act would:
As Congress considers legislation to increase the federal minimum wage, leaving small businesses and their workers behind – as the unbalanced plan slated for a vote tomorrow does – is terribly irresponsible. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and it’s important for Congress to ensure a minimum wage mandate does not have a harmful effect on small employers’ ability to create jobs – and provide benefits – for working families. If you would like to cosponsor this bill, please contact Rob Gregg with the Education and Labor Committee’s Republican office at 6-9406.