Rep. Engel: It's Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, lent his support of the Democratic Caucus’ efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. 

“Nearly 25 million American workers earn just $7.25 an hour. It’s unconscionable for someone to work 40 hours or more a week and still live in poverty, but that’s the reality for far too many minimum wage employees.”

Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lift between 1 million to 4.5 million Americans out of poverty. And over 600 economists, including seven Nobel laureates, wrote a letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders urging them to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Among the evidence they cited in support of raising the wage:

*The vast majority of employees who would benefit are adults in working families, disproportionately women, who work at least 20 hours a week and depend on these earnings to make ends meet.

*The increase to $10.10 would mean that minimum-wage workers who work full time, full year would see a raise from their current salary of roughly $15,000 to roughly $21,000.

*Increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.

Congressman Engel said the fight over raising the minimum wage is more about politics than good policy.

“There’s no reason to oppose a pay raise for the millions of hard-working Americans struggling to support themselves and their families on $7.25 an hour. If Republicans want to get serious about stimulating the economy then let’s start by raising the minimum wage.”