Transcript: Rep. George Miller’s press briefing remarks on the Fair Minimum Wage Act – March 3, 2014

Partial transcript of press conference remarks by Rep. George Miller (D-California) on the introduction of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 to raise the federal hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016. The press conference was held on March 3, 2014:

…The bill that we are introducing today is a testament to your commitment to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed.

And right now, tens of millions of Americans are working hard stocking shelves or working hard in fast food restaurants and cleaning bathrooms in downtown office buildings and throughout our entire sales and service sector of economy.

They work full-time. They work two or three part-time jobs. They play by the rules, and they contribute. But they still live in poverty.

And they’re falling behind because their paychecks aren’t keeping up.

Today, 40% of Americans make less than the minimum was worth in 1968 and that is immoral and it is economically dangerous.

Income inequality threatens the economic security of working families and the strength of our nation.

That’s why we’re here today – workers and businesses alike – to say it’s time for $10.10.

It’s time for $10.10 because raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would put more money in workers’ pockets and more green in the tills of businesses across the country.

It’s time for $10.10 because a bigger paycheck will go right back into the economy, back into local small businesses that are always looking for new customers.

It’s time for $10.10 because we know that business can afford to raise the minimum wage. The New York Times just yesterday called it the golden age of corporate profits, even while workers’ wages remain stuck in quicksand.

Sen. Harkin and I believe that setting the minimum wage at $10.10 matters.

$10.10 matters to Gregory and Amie who are here with us today and to the 30 million workers like them who will get a raise under our bill.

Nearly a quarter of all workers will get a raise under our bill.

$10.10 matters to the 17.5 million children who have at least one parent who will get a raise under our bill.

$10.10 matters to women. Most low-income workers are women. Close to 17 million women will get a pay raise under this legislation. And the fact that this is Women’s History Month, we must understand that this has a huge impact on women across the country.

$10.10 matters when it comes to indexing the minimum wage. If we tie the minimum wage to inflation, we must not start when the inflation adjustment is too low. Otherwise, workers will get stuck below the poverty line in perpetuity. We will be sentencing them to a sub-minimum wage in perpetuity. That’s why $10.10 matters.

Raising the minimum wage should be a no brainer for lawmakers of both parties. Remember that George W. Bush signed the last minimum wage bill increase into law in 2007, and 82 House Republicans voted for a standalone bill when it passed the House the first time that same year.

We’re not naive. We know that raising the minimum wage is always a struggle, and that that struggle starts with robust public debate. President Obama opened up that debate with the State of the Union, and it has now spread to workplaces and kitchen tables across the country, and the debate is now joined on Capitol Hill. I look forward to it; Sen. Harkin looks forward to –

It’s time for the workers to get a raise. It’s time to grow our economy from the bottom up. And it’s time for $10.10 an hour for all workers in this country.


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