Press Release ● Jobs and Economy
For Immediate Release: 
July 12, 2005
Contact Info: 
Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning concerning four bills that the Republican leadership put on the House Floor today that will weaken worker protections, and the Republicans’ refusal to consider Democratic legislation to raise the minimum wage  for the first time in eight years:

 “There is a reason that seven in 10 Americans believe that this Republican Congress does not share their priorities, as a recent CBS New/New York Times Poll found.

 “There is a reason that six in 10 Americans believe that this Republican Congress has not passed legislation this year that will improve their quality of life, as a recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll found.

“The reason is simple: Because the American people are absolutely correct.  This Republican Congress does not share their priorities.  Nor has it focused on legislation that will improve their quality of life.

“The legislation on the Floor today is just another example of the House Republicans’ misplaced priorities.

“We will consider four bills that would rollback safety protections for millions of workers, even though nearly 6,000 Americans are killed every year in workplace accidents and more than 50,000 others are injured.

“These bills are nothing less than a slap in the face to the working men and women across our country who get up early every day, who earn an honest living through the sweat of their brow, and who try to raise their families the best they can.

“This Congress should be trying to ensure workplace safety, not making it more difficult to enforce safety regulations and standards.

“If we were really focused on the priorities of working America, we would immediately pass Democratic legislation to raise the minimum wage by $2.10 over two years.

“The real value of the minimum wage has decreased by 40 percent since 1968.  And the fact is, if the minimum wage had been inflation adjusted since 1968, it would be $8.88 per hour.

“Instead, it stands at only $5.15 per hour and has not been raised in eight years.

“Raising the minimum wage would help more than 7 million American workers, 61 percent whom are women.

“It’s long past time that we adjusted the minimum wage to reflect the economic reality in our nation today.  Millions of American workers need and deserve this raise.  But through the bills we consider today, we see precisely where the Republican Party’s priorities lie.”