Economic Recovery Leaves Too Many People Out
Engel Says Focus Must Benefit Everyone, Not Just Billionaires

Washington D.C.- Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, reaffirmed his commitment to improving stagnant wages for American workers to help improve economic conditions for working families.
The low unemployment rate is deceptive. Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, the January government shutdown revealed that even much of our once proud middle class is living paycheck to paycheck.  Wages also haven’t seen a meaningful increase in decades, and now the Trump Tax Scam has removed key deductions, including capping State and Local Tax deductions, meaning that people in New York are keeping even less of their pay checks than ever before.
“There’s no denying our economy has made a strong recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. There is also no denying that far too many working-class Americans aren’t seeing the effects of that recovery in their paychecks,” Congressman Engel said. “Congress has a role it can play in helping to grow stagnant wages, but we have been paralyzed by do-nothing Republican leaders who spend far more time working for corporations and billionaires than they do the American people.”
“As strong as job growth has been,” Engel continued, “there is always room to create more opportunities in the workforce. Big metropolitan areas face different challenges than much of the rest of the country. Developing and redeveloping communities could be dynamic stimuli for local small businesses that provide work at a living wage, but we need to give these businesses the tools they need to succeed.”
Congressman Engel has called for combatting the climate change crisis by investing in the development of renewable, clean energy sources for years. The goals of the Green New Deal, in addition to ending our reliance on fossil fuels, includes expanding well-paying job opportunities for Americans in the burgeoning clean energy field. This will, in turn, ensure that as our energy sector transforms, so too will our economy. No longer will only a select few stand to gain from the economic prosperity a 21st century economy can offer. Said Congressman Engle “The United States is falling behind other countries in energy innovation, while we should be the worldwide leader. We cannot afford to let other countries benefit from the economic boom afforded by the growth in this important sector, while we watch from the sidelines.”
Congressman Engel continues to fight for wage equality for women. He says “Women continue to earn 1/3 less than men. This is a real problem, and to address it, I co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, passed by the Congress in March, 2019. Our bill requires employers to prove any pay disparity that may exist among equivalent workers is legitimate; prohibits them from relying on salary history in determining future pay so that pay discrimination does not follow women from job to job; bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages; and ensures women can receive the same remedies for sex-based pay discrimination currently available to those subjected to discrimination based on race and ethnicity.”
Congressman Engel is also a strong supporter of an increase in the federal minimum wage. Far too many Americans work full time or more only to bring home a minimum wage paycheck that simply cannot support a family. The Raise the Wage Act, H.R. 582, would increase the federal minimum wage to $15.00 over a five year period. The bill would also put an end to the sub-minimum wages currently allowable for tipped workers. Congressman Bobby Scott introduced the bill on January 16, 2019, and Mr. Engel was an original cosponsor.
In addition, promoting community-owned small businesses providing paid family leave can fuel economic growth. The combined impact of these efforts would lift millions of Americans out of the economic doldrums and give the entire economy a jolt. Higher wages would mean more disposable income, which would mean more traffic at local businesses, leading to more jobs. Congressman Engel said “If we focus on smart policies that make our communities stronger, we can make sure every American feels their share of the recovery.”
Congressman Eliot L. Engel issued the following statement on Equal Pay Day