Senate Republicans Block Legislation to Raise Minimum Wage for Millions of American Families

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Senate Republicans today filibustered a vote to raise the minimum wage for millions of American families. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow voted to move forward on the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, legislation she cosponsored that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. While a majority of senators voted to move forward on the bill, Republicans refused to allow consideration of the bill, which would help lift millions of American families out of poverty.

"Right now, many people working full-time jobs that pay the minimum wage are living below the poverty line," said Stabenow. "Raising the wage gives a fair shot to people who are trying to provide for their families. It is disappointing that some of my colleagues don't understand what Henry Ford understood 100 years ago - that when you pay people decent wages, you create customers and you create a middle class. Our economy is not going to work if we have people working full-time jobs are still living in poverty and unable to provide for their families."

The federal minimum wage has not been raised in five years. Currently, a full-time worker earning the minimum wage only earns around $15,000 a year - approximately $4,000 below the poverty level for a family of three. More than half of those working for the minimum wage are women, and the average minimum wage worker is 35 years old.

While working families are struggling to stay afloat, the average CEO makes the same amount of money as 774 minimum wage workers' salaries combined. The Minimum Wage Fairness Act would reward hard work and create more opportunities so women, children and families across America have a fair shot to succeed and build the lives they want.

Raising the minimum wage also stands to benefit the economy as whole. Putting more money into the pockets of workers will create more customers for businesses large and small, which in turn can hire more workers and increase the pay of those they already employ. This will help grow the economy as a whole and boost wages for all workers.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 641,000 Michigan workers would be directly affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, and another 299,000 workers would also likely see their wages rise.

A recent study by the Center for American Progress found that a $10.10 minimum wage would reduce spending on food assistance (SNAP) in Michigan by more than $205 million annually and would reduce the SNAP rolls by more than 110,000 people because higher wages will lift them out of poverty. Nationally, it would save $46 billion and reduce the SNAP rolls by more than three million people.