Raise the Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Despite occasional increases over the years, the minimum wage has lost 32 percent of its purchasing power since 1968.

in contrast, the cost of living keeps going up. The costs of educaiton, health care, and housing have all increased dramatically.

Today, a full-time worker earning the minimum wage makes $14,500 a year. That's not enough to lift families out of poverty. The Federal Poverty Level for 2014 is $15,730 for a family of two, and it increases with family size. A single parent with one or more children who works full-time at the minimum wage now lives below the poverty line.

As far as I'm concerned, that's unacceptablel Nobody in this country who works full-time should have to live in poverty. That's why I've been a strong, vocal supporter of raising the minimum wage throughout my service in Congress.

I am a cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010), which would increase the minimum wage to:

1) $8.20 an hour three months after H.R. 1010 is signed into law;

2) $9.15 an hour one year after H.R. 1010 is signed into law;

3) $10.10 an hour two years after H.R. 1010 is signed into law.

The rate would then be indexed to inflation each year thereafter.

In addition, the legislaiton would increase the requred cash wage for tipped workers in annual 85 cent increments from today's $2.13 per hour until the tip credit reaches 70 percent of the regular minimum wages.

More than 16 million workers would directly see an increase in their wages, and millions more would benefit from the upward pressure on wages. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lift nearly a million people out of poverty.

Conservatives say that raising the minimum wage would eliminate jobs and hurt businesses.

Most economists disagree -- they believe that raising the minimum wage won't cause much, if any, net job loss.

Most recent economic studies have concluded that the effects on employment of increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 are small to nonexistent.

Some economists believe that raising the minimum wage might even increase the total number of American jobs by putting more purchasing power in the hands of peopl who spend all of their pay checks.

What's more, research has indicated that paying workers a better wage can actually reduce businesses' labor costs by improving productivity and lowering turn-over and absenteeism.

the "bottom line" is that increasing the minimum wage isn't some zero-sum game. It's a win-win scenario. That's why I believe that raising the minimum wage isn't just the compassionate thing to do; it's also the smart thing to do.

I will work in the weeks and months ahead to raise the minimum wage and provide this much-needed support for millions of hardworking Americans.