2007-01-19 / Community

Meeks Votes For Minimum Wage Raise

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks has voted for bipartisan legislation increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over the next two years. "This measure will benefit nearly 600,000 workers in New York State and over12 million American workers and their families nationally," Congressman Meeks said. The House passed the bill Wednesday afternoon.

The Southeast Queens Congressman noted that, "The minimum wage has been frozen for the last 10 years and is at its lowest level in 50 years when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, consumer costs from energy to health care to education have risen by $5,000 at the same time as the average American family has seen its real income drop by almost $1,300 since 2000. It is wrong to have millions of Americans working full-time and still living in poverty. A pay raise for almost 13 million workers, including over a half a million New Yorkers, is long overdue. That is why the House Democratic leadership brought H.R. 2 to the floor during the first full week of the 110th Congress."

H.R. 2 will increase the minimum wage by $2.10 - from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour by 2009. The bipartisan bill raises the minimum wage to $5.85 60 days after enactment; to $6.55 one year later; and to $7.25 a year after that. This would mean an additional income of $4,400 per year for a family of three, equaling 15 months of groceries or over two years of health care coverage.

According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), among Americans who will benefit from a minimum wage increase: 79 percent are adults over the age of 20; 53 percent are full time workers (people who work more than 35 hours per week); 3.4 million are parents with children under the age of 18, including nearly 1.2 million single parents; and 59 percent are women.

Congressman Meeks hopes that the Senate will vote on a clean, stand-alone bill to increase the minimum wage. The President has said he supports increasing the minimum wage and will sign it into law. "Raising the minimum wage is the first step to a stronger economy for all Americans, not just for the privileged few," said Congressman Meeks. "Our action today will make a real difference in the lives of America's working families."

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