WASHINGTON, D.C. – This Saturday, December 2, marks the longest time period since the federal minimum wage was established in 1938 that Congress has not raised it. On December 2, the minimum wage will have been stuck at $5.15 per hour for more than nine years and three months. U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and George Miller (D-CA), who have been leaders in the fight to raise the minimum wage, said today that it was disgraceful that minimum wage workers have had to wait so long for a raise, and promised that the House would pass a minimum wage increase within the first 100 hours of the new Democratic Congress convening in January.
“Democrats have been fighting for years to raise the minimum wage,” said Hoyer, the Democratic Majority Leader-elect. "I am very proud that the new Democratic Majority has made raising the minimum wage one of our first priorities in January. Hard working Americans should not be forced to live in poverty. This is a moral issue, as well as an issue of economic fairness and justice.”
“People who go to work every day to earn an honest living deserve to be treated with integrity and respect, and they deserve a decent wage for their work,” said Miller, the senior Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee. “No one can meet even the most basic expenses on today’s minimum wages, yet millions of Americans are forced to try and do just that every day. In January, Democrats will pass a minimum wage increase, and workers will get the long-overdue raise they have earned.”
Democrats have pledged to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour.
President Bill Clinton signed the last minimum wage increase (from $4.25 to $5.15) into law on August 20, 1996, and it took full effect on September 1, 1997. The longest period during which the national minimum wage had previously gone unchanged was between January 1981 and April 1990, a period of nine years and three months. Congress first established the national minimum wage in 1938.