On the Bipartisan Senate Test Vote for a Substantial Federal Minimum Wage Increase

Statement of Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project

“Today, the nation’s lowest-paid workers received a glimmer of hope that lawmakers might eventually agree, on a bipartisan basis, to pass a long-overdue substantial increase to the federal minimum wage, when Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) crossed the aisle and joined all Democratic Senators in voting yes on just such an amendment.  Although the proposed amendment failed by a vote of 48-52, this early test of bipartisan support for a substantial increase is encouraging.

“Wage stagnation and income inequality are interrelated crises we can no longer afford to ignore.  Passing a substantial minimum wage increase that reaches a significant share of the workforce is not the only solution to our wage crisis, but it is the place to start.  Indeed, three-quarters of the public favor raising the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour, with support deep, broad, and bipartisan in all regions of the country and across all age groups and income levels.

“It’s time for Congress to do the will of the voters and implement this common-sense policy reform.  A substantial minimum wage increase that reaches across the workforce to lift the wages of a broad swath of workers is good for working families, good for the economy, and good for America as a whole.  We hope Congress will come together in a bipartisan fashion to take this important step.”

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Emma Stieglitz

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