WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Raise the Wage Act. Below is a link to the video and his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Click here to watch the full remarks.
“Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the Raise the Wage Act because we need to raise wages for working people and our middle class. We need to make certain that wages keep pace with the cost of living and with the value of the labor that our people contribute into the economy.
“That’s why we have a federal minimum wage: to ensure that everyone who works hard full time ought to be able to afford not simply to get by but to get ahead.
“I’ve heard from many in my district who have told me that increasing the minimum wage will have a major impact on their incomes and their lives.
“Dana Hudson, from Owings in Calvert County, Maryland makes the Maryland minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, and he supplements his income with farming on his land. He’s sixty years old and looking ahead to retirement, knowing that a higher minimum wage in his final years of working will go a long way toward giving him and his wife retirement security.
“Delano Alexander of Clinton, Maryland is an environmental services aide at Prince George’s Hospital Center. He earns $12.85 an hour presently, and if we pass this bill, he will get an income boost to help him and his family get ahead.
“Victor Reyes of Berwyn Heights, Maryland started his career as a non-union day-laborer, barely making a living. Now he has a union construction job, and he’s earning better pay. He wrote to ask me to support a higher minimum wage so that others who were working with him and haven’t found better jobs can get the same economic security he now has.
“In June, we marked ten years since the last minimum wage increase went into effect, the longest period without an increase since the minimum wage was first introduced under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
“I was proud to bring legislation to the Floor in 2007 to raise the minimum wage the last time Congress did so, and I’m proud to do it again today. This is long overdue, something the previous Republican Majority should have made a priority but failed to accomplish.
“Today, low-income workers in our economy are getting a bad deal, with a minimum wage that doesn’t even allow many workers to get by, let alone get ahead. Because ten years have passed without an increase, workers stuck earning the current minimum wage of just $7.25 an hour have effectively received a 17% pay cut due to inflation.
“That’s why the House will vote today on the Raise the Wage act, which will gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This bill also eliminates the sub-minimum wage for those with disabilities, which will ensure their equal pay.
“Many states and municipalities have already raised their minimum wages to this level, and it has not caused the dire consequences that some on the other side of the aisle predicted. My home state of Maryland took action earlier this year to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I’m very proud of that fact.
“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would lift 1.3 million Americans directly out of poverty, and the Economic Policy Institute says that doing so would cause wages to go up for 33 million Americans.
“Democrats campaigned on a promise to raise wages and make sure that American workers can access all the opportunities that make the American dream possible. That’s what we are doing today, and I thank Chairman Bobby Scott and Democrats on the Education and Labor Committee for their hard work on this legislation.
“I urge my colleagues to vote ‘yes.’”