HOUSE PASSES MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
For the second time in six months, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed an increase in the federal minimum wage. U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof (MO-09) cast his vote in favor of H.R. 2, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which will increase the wage an additional $2.10 from its current level of $5.15 to $7.25 per hour over the next two years.
"An increase in the federal minimum wage is appropriate," Hulshof stated. "Our strong economy has resulted in most wages being well above the minimum wage. However, there are some people earning the minimum wage who are struggling to make ends meet, and I support this increase because it will help those hard-working people."
During consideration of the minimum wage bill, House Republicans were blocked from offering an alternative that would have coupled an identical increase in the minimum wage with targeted proposals to help small businesses offset increased costs associated with raising the minimum wage. Both the Administration and senior Democrats in the U.S. Senate have called for coupling a minimum wage increase with relief for small businesses.
"Small businesses are the engines of job creation," Hulshof said. "Though we should increase the minimum wage, the last thing we want to do is to inadvertently cause low-income workers to lose their jobs. That is why I plan to keep working to ensure that the final minimum wage increase bill Congress sends to the President contains meaningful provisions to help small businesses cope with increased labor costs."
Under the bill passed by the House, the federal minimum wage would increase to $5.85 within 60 days of enactment. The wage would then go up to $6.55 within one year of the first increase and $7.25 within two years.
The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.