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Minimum Wage Boost Gets Berkley Backing

Location: Washington, DC

Minimum Wage Boost Gets Berkley Backing

Delivering on a promise she made to hard working southern Nevadans, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today voted to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 over the next two years. Nevada voters approved an increase in the state's minimum wage this past November, but the increase supported by Berkley is the first to be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in more than a decade. The measure must still win approval in the Senate before being sent to the President.

"Nevadans sent a clear message this election that they support an increase in the minimum wage. That is why I voted with the families of the Silver State to give millions of hard working individuals a well deserved pay raise," said Berkley. "I am now hopeful that the Senate will follow the House's lead and move quickly in approving an increase in pay for America's minimum wage earners. This change is long overdue and will help more families make ends meet at a time when the cost of living continues to rise."

Under the Democratic legislation approved in the House, the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour will be increased in three steps to $7.25 per hour, for a total increase of $2.10 over two years. The increase would mark the first time the federal minimum wage has been raised since 1997. Raising the minimum wage would provide an additional $4,400 in income per year for a family of three at a time when the cost of housing, energy, healthcare and other living expenses continues to rise. Nevada tip earners will be eligible to receive the full $7.25 per hour minimum wage without any offset, as was originally proposed by GOP leaders in Congress last year. Berkley opposed Republican efforts to penalize tip earners in Nevada and helped to prevent the off-set provision from being included in the version passed by the House.

Raising the Minimum Wage Helps Women, Minorities, Single Parents and Families Living Below the Poverty Level

Under existing law minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year make $10,712 - nearly $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.

Women comprise nearly 60% percent of all workers benefiting from an increase in the minimum wage. That means nearly 7.7 million hardworking women will receive a pay raise from increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

An estimated 1.2 million single parents - primarily single mothers - with children under the age of 18 will benefit from raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

More than 2.1 million African Americans, 2.3 million Hispanic Americans, and 275,000 Asian Americans will be affected by raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

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