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Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight appalled by the way Republican leadership has decided to turn against American workers by playing politics, instead of passing a clean minimum wage increase.

It is shameful that millions of Americans are suffering the economic injustice of working a full-time job and earning a wage that leaves them below the poverty line.

It is unconscionable that we stand here tonight debating provisions on the estate tax and the extension of expiring tax provisions. These provisions only serve as a political ploy to kill any increase to the minimum wage.

Working-class Americans have waited too long, close to a decade in fact, for an increase in the minimum wage. This has been the second longest period without a pay raise since the Federal minimum wage law was first enacted in 1938.

Over this last decade while the minimum wage has remained stagnant, the cost of basic necessities such as energy and healthcare have skyrocketed--meaning that the minimum wage is no longer a livable wage.

Today a minimum wage earner has to work a day and a half just to pay for a full tank of gas. That is simply shameful.

As Americans we have always been told that if you have a job, and you work hard, you will have a secure future in our Nation. Yet, millions of Americans who do have jobs and who do work hard everyday have joined the ranks of the ``working poor.''

In fact, the number of full-time year-round workers who are poor has more than doubled since the late 1970s.

Let there be no doubt, a vote to increase the minimum wage to $7.25/hour is a vote to alleviate poverty in America, and it is a vote to help eliminate the term ``working poor'' from our reality.

Members of this body should be allowed a straight up-or-down vote on legislation to raise the minimum wage to a true livable wage of $7.25/hour over the next 2 years.

But instead the Republican leadership here in the House of Representatives has chosen to play dirty politics and attach poison pill provisions to this legislation with the implicit expectation of killing a real minimum wage increase.

It is quite simply a slap in the face for working-class Americans.


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