Hoyer: House Republicans Vote Against a Long-Overdue Increase in the Federal Minimum Wage

For Immediate Release:

June 27, 2006

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon after House Republicans again blocked a vote to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour over two years.  Democrats believe there is majority support in the House for raising the minimum wage, so Democrats asked Republicans to join them in opposing the rule on the Science, State, Justice and Commerce (SSJC) Appropriations Bill to force a vote on an amendment to increase the minimum wage.

 Hoyer, along with Reps. David Obey and Alan Mollohan, sought last night to offer a minimum wage amendment to the SSJC Bill, which Republicans rejected.  The identical amendment was adopted during Appropriations Committee consideration of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, which originally was scheduled for Floor consideration last week.  The Labor-HHS Bill, however, was pulled from the Floor schedule and it is unclear when it will be considered.  Mr. Hoyer released the following statement after the vote:

 “No one should be under any illusion that this Rule vote was strictly a procedural matter.  It was not.  By voting for this Rule – which denied Members the opportunity to consider a Democratic Amendment to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in nine years – House Republicans effectively voted against an increase in the minimum wage.

 “This vote demonstrates once again how out of touch House Republicans are with American voters, who overwhelmingly support an increase in the federal minimum wage.

 “It is simply stunning to me that House Republicans will bend over backwards to provide 7,500 of the wealthiest estates in America with a tax break costing hundreds of billions of dollars, while refusing to give the 6.6 million minimum-wage earners a pay raise.

 “The Republican position on the federal minimum wage is simply indefensible, and even some Republicans recognize that.  Democrats will continue to fight for a fair – and long-overdue – increase the federal minimum wage.  If you work hard and play by the rules in the United States of America, you should be able to get ahead and should not be relegated to living in poverty.”

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