WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke this afternoon at a press conference on H.R. 2, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Today, the United States House of Representatives, the People's House, demonstrated that we are committed to addressing the needs of all of our people - including those who struggle to make ends meet on the federal minimum wage.
"Today, the House will pass legislation, on a bipartisan basis, to increase the federal minimum wage by $2.10 per hour over the next three years.
"The minimum wage, of course, has not been increased since September 1, 1997, making this House action long overdue.
"Increasing the minimum wage is simply a matter of doing what's right, just and fair. Eighty-nine percent of the American people support such an increase, according to a Newsweek poll. President Bush has expressed his support. And a bipartisan majority of the Senate passed a minimum wage increase in June 2006.
"Now, we urge our colleagues in the Senate to hold a clean up-or-down vote on this issue as soon as possible.
"In the United States of America, the richest nation on earth, workers should not be relegated to poverty if they work hard and play by the rules.
"On Monday, we commemorate the life of a great American - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And Dr. King once said: 'Equality means dignity. And dignity demands a job and a paycheck that lasts through the week.'
"Today, we heed those words. We must not ignore our citizens who are struggling. We must get this legislation to the President's desk without delay."