Remarks By Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid At A Democratic Rally Celebrating The Minimum Wage Increase
UPPER SENATE PARK, WASHINGTON, D.C.
2:32 P.M. EDT, TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2O07
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REP. PELOSI: Is today a good-news day for America's workers?! (Cheers, applause.) Higher wages, better jobs, a new direction for America. And we're here to celebrate.
Thank you, John Sweeney, President John Sweeney, for bringing us here. Thank you, Anna Berger, president of Change to Win, for coming together, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, on behalf of America's workers.
To all of you -- our friends in AFSCME, who are so well- represented here -- (cheers, applause); SEIU -- (cheers, applause); CWA, Taking a Stand for Justice -- (cheers, applause); AFTE (ph) -- thank you very much. Oh, the Operating Engineers, wonderful to see you. ACORN. Oh, my, we -- (cheers applause) -- we could introduce all of you.
Leader Reid, it seems like yesterday we were here urging the Senate to end the war and bring our troops home. (Cheers, applause.) And here we are one week later gathered here to observe a remarkable thing -- an increase in the minimum wage. It shouldn't be that remarkable, but it took 10 long years, because of Republican obstructionism to block fairness, for an increase in the minimum wage. Ten years. In fact, in the last Congress the Republicans prevented consideration of the minimum wage coming to the House floor 11 times. Does that tell you whose side they are on?
This is a day that signals change, because people who went to work this morning, who went to work every day to provide for their families, today will have their work rewarded more fully. More fully. It's not enough, but it's a great start.
And it's part of a progressive agenda for economic growth in our country that talks about rewarding work, about educating our people. Because of Congressman George Miller, who's part of this effort on the minimum wage, we just passed -- (cheers, applause) -- because of him, in the House we just passed the best tuition package for helping kids go to college since the GI Bill in 1944. (Cheers, applause.)
They seem to go together -- they seem to go together, this commitment to the future. In the Senate, Senator Kennedy took the lead on the minimum wage, he's taking the lead on the higher education package as well. Thank you, Senator Kennedy. (Cheers, applause.)
So it's about jobs, it's about education, it's about SCHIP, it's about having affordable health care for millions more of America's children. Charlie Rangel and Mr. Dingell are taking the lead on the SCHIP in the House of Representatives. (Cheers, applause.)
It's about affordable housing and it's about honoring our promises to our veterans. Ten years till we got an increase in the minimum wage; the higher ed bill, a bill that is the biggest improvement since 1944; and our increase in the funding for benefits for our veterans is the biggest increase since the establishment of the Veterans Administration 77 years ago -- $6.7 billion. (Cheers, applause.)
So this is about the future, it's about fairness, it's about having many more Americans participate in the economic success of our country, where our prosperity is shared because of an economic -- a progressive economic agenda.
And I want to thank so many of you. I acknowledged many, but I want to acknowledge Americans United for Change -- Brad Woodhouse, thank you so much for your great work. Let's hear it for Americans United for Change! (Cheers, applause.)
I'm so honored to be here with my colleagues from the House, our majority leader, Steny Hoyer; George Miller; Charlie Rangel; I acknowledged Senator Kennedy; so many House members -- raise your hands, House members! Hey! (Cheers, applause.)
And now let's hear it for a man who made all of this possible, the great Democratic majority leader of the United States Senate, the senator from Nevada, from Searchlight, Nevada -- a person who needs no searchlight to find justice; he has it within himself, he spreads it in the country -- the great Senator Harry Reid! (Cheers, applause.)