On the Bipartisan Senate Test Vote for a Substantial Federal Minimum Wage Increase

Statement of Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project

“Today, the nation’s lowest-paid workers received a glimmer of hope that lawmakers might eventually agree, on a bipartisan basis, to pass a long-overdue substantial increase to the federal minimum wage, when Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) crossed the aisle and joined all Democratic Senators in voting yes on just such an amendment.  Although the proposed amendment failed by a vote of 48-52, this early test of bipartisan support for a substantial increase is encouraging.

“Wage stagnation and income inequality are interrelated crises we can no longer afford to ignore.  Passing a substantial minimum wage increase that reaches a significant share of the workforce is not the only solution to our wage crisis, but it is the place to start.  Indeed, three-quarters of the public favor raising the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour, with support deep, broad, and bipartisan in all regions of the country and across all age groups and income levels.

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“It’s time for Congress to do the will of the voters and implement this common-sense policy reform.  A substantial minimum wage increase that reaches across the workforce to lift the wages of a broad swath of workers is good for working families, good for the economy, and good for America as a whole.  We hope Congress will come together in a bipartisan fashion to take this important step.”

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Emma Stieglitz

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