Ms. DeLAURO. I rise in strong support of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, introduced by Congressman George Miller, which will raise the minimum wage over 3 years to $10.10 per hour and then index the wage to inflation. It is long past time to get this done.
The minimum wage in America used to be equal to about half of average wages. Today, at $7.25 an hour, it is barely a third. The purchasing power of the minimum wage has been dropping steadily since 1968. If the minimum wage kept up with inflation over the last 40 years, it would be at $10.55 an hour.
This failure to keep pace particularly hurts women, who make up nearly two out of three workers making the minimum wage. At that rate, a year of full-time work comes out to $14,500 a year. For a mom with two kids, it's over $3,000 below the poverty line. For tipped workers, the situation is even worse. They make only $2.13 an hour.
Low minimum wage is not just bad for workers. It's bad for business and the economy. Low wages limit consumer demand, which stalls our country's economic growth. It hurts everyone. Raising the minimum wage would not just mean a raise for 21 million workers, it would create 140,000 new jobs and boost our GDP by $33 billion.
We've waited long enough. It's time to make sure all our workers make a decent pay for a hard day's work. I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation.