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WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) released the following statements today:
"I am very pleased that my amendment raising the minimum wage passed in the Appropriations Committee today.
"Republicans talk about creating an 'ownership society,' yet the fact remains that their policies have left millions of families earning the minimum wage struggling to afford the basic necessities.
"The minimum wage has not been increased since 1997, and new findings from the Center for Economic and Policy Research that I released today with Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the ranking House Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee, show that the minimum wage is now at its lowest level in 50 years.
"My amendment is very similar to the bill introduced by Mr. Miller and would gradually raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25. Democrats will continue fighting until a raise in the minimum wage to a fair, livable level is made law."
Rep. Miller, senior Democrat, Committee on Education and the Workforce
"It is time to give America's minimum wage workers a raise. Democrats have been fighting for an increase in the minimum wage for years and now, because of today's committee vote on Congressman Hoyer's amendment, there is finally a chance to get it done.
"Republican leaders should drop their longtime opposition to increasing the minimum wage and let the vote go forward. Nearly 8 million American workers - most of them adults, many of them working full-time and responsible for providing for their families - would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage.
"These workers have held up their end of the bargain. They play by the rules and go to work every day. And they have a right to a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. Republican leaders should show American workers the respect they deserve and not interfere with a vote to raise the minimum wage."
Mr. Hoyer's amendment passed 32-27 in the Appropriations Committee markup of the FY07 Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill. Unless the Republican leadership of the House interferes, the amendment's passage means the House will vote on the minimum wage for the first time in a decade.