Today, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats at a press conference calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. At the press conference, Representative Conyers signed on to a discharge petition -- a legislative maneuver to bring a bill to the House Floor for a vote if a majority of Representatives sign on -- calling for an increase in the minimum wage. An increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 would raise wages for nearly $25 million people and lift between 1 and 4.5 million Americans out of poverty. Following the press conference, Rep. Conyers issued the following statement:
"At $7.25, the minimum wage today is worth around $2 less than what it was worth in 1968, when adjusted for inflation. Further, hardworking Americans have not seen an increase in the minimum wage since 2009, as wages were bottoming out in the throes of the Great Recession. Simply put, it is long past time to give millions of working families a raise," said Conyers.
"Today, I was proud to join with Leader Pelosi and House Democratic Members in signing on to a discharge petition urging Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. While a seemingly modest increase, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour will boost approximately 25 million workers' wages, and lift between 1 and 4.5 million Americans out of poverty. Considering the consensus among economists that had the minimum wage kept pace with inflation and productivity gains it would be between $16 and $22 an hour, it is exceedingly reasonable for Congress to approve an increase to $10.10 an hour.
"Raising the minimum wage is both a matter of economic fairness and sound policy, as increased wages fuel demand and lift our country's economic growth. After years of stagnant or declining wages, and an increasingly widening opportunity gap, it is time to grant millions of hardworking Americans the raise that they have earned."