Today Democrats are fulfilling a pledge to millions of working families who have struggled for too long to make ends meet with a minimum wage that has failed to keep pace with skyrocketing housing, health care, energy and other costs.
President Franklin Roosevelt told us, "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
The federal minimum wage has remained unchanged for nearly 10 years, and its purchasing power has plummeted to the lowest level in more than half a century. It is unacceptable and immoral that millions of Americans have been working full-time and year-round while still being unable to afford the basic necessities of life.
By increasing the federal minimum wage by $2.10 - from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years - we are giving a long overdue pay raise to about 13 million Americans, which amounts to an additional $4,400 per year for a family of three. I am proud that my home state of Massachusetts already has taken similar action, increasing the Commonwealth's minimum wage to $7.50 effective January 1, 2007. A total of twenty-eight states along with the District of Columbia have a state minimum wage above the current federal level. It is time for the federal government to catch up.
Raising the minimum wage will make an important difference in the lives of hardworking Americans across the country. The Senate should quickly pass similar legislation and President Bush should sign into law this much-needed increase as soon as it reaches his desk.
(cross posted at the Blue Mass. Group)