After becoming a co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) today emphasized his support for a fairer minimum wage that includes annual increases tied to the rate of inflation.
"In the United States, if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide a decent quality of life for yourself and your family," said Cicilline. "I am proud to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act that will increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over the next three years, provide a higher minimum wage for tipped workers, and strengthen our economic recovery."
Over the past four years, the federal minimum wage has remained stagnant and lost value, failing to keep up with the cost of living and leaving working families to rely on government aid to make ends meet. Enacting the Fair Minimum Wage Act would increase pay for as many as 30 million Americans and offer tipped workers their first pay hike since 1991.
With the real value of the minimum wage at historic lows, this measure would increase consumer spending -- helping to buoy the national economy. As a Fiscal Policy Institute study found, states with higher minimum wages have "consistently better" economic indicators than others. Additionally, an analysis of recent studies indicates that raising the minimum wage would, in fact, have little or no negative impact on job growth.
"At a time when income inequality is at its widest level in decades and it has become even harder for working families to move into the middle class, raising the minimum wage would ensure that hardworking families are compensated for the work they put in each day," Cicilline added. "The House should honor our nation's workers by passing this commonsense legislation."
Raising the minimum wage is also a critical issue for millions of America's women. As more than 64% of minimum wage workers are women, it will offer a much-needed boost to America's women in the workplace.
Indexing the minimum wage to inflation is critical to taking partisan politics out of this debate. With passage of this bill, the purchasing power of minimum wage earners would no longer be held hostage by partisanship in Congress or powerful special interests.