Garamendi Joins Effort Requiring Minimum Wage Vote on House Floor
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) is taking action to force an up-or-down vote on key legislation that would give at least 25 million Americans a pay raise. Congressman Garamendi joined his colleagues in signing a discharge petition, led by Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY), to bring to the House floor a vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010). The bill increases the minimum wage over three years from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour, roughly where it was when Ronald Reagan was Governor of California. The bill also indexes future annual increases to inflation thereafter, and gradually increases the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the minimum wage.
“Increasing the minimum wage is one of the most effective methods we have to lift millions of Americans out of poverty, helping struggling families become more self-sufficient and make ends meet,” said Congressman Garamendi. “Many minimum wage earners are parents, breadwinners, and caregivers. They deserve our support.”
He added, “I’m convinced the votes exist in the House to pass this bill, but since the House Republican Leadership controls all votes on the House floor, this discharge petition is the best tool available to Democrats to force action on this needed legislation. Let’s show the American people that this Congress is able to get something important done. Let’s raise the minimum wage together.”
The current minimum wage pays only $14,500 per year, so this increase would lift between 1 million and 4.5 million Americans out of poverty. This is critical to those working hard to support their families. Nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women and the average worker who would get this raise is 35 years old.
In California, the effective minimum wage will be $9.00 per hour by July 1, 2014 and $10.00 per hour by January 1, 2016. “It’s time for the rest of the nation to follow California’s lead,” Garamendi added.
Increasing the minimum wage will help all Americans by growing our economy and creating jobs, generating some $22 billion in increased economic activity. Businesses, like Gap and Costco, have embraced paying a higher minimum wage because it will strengthen their bottom line, with more productive employees, less turnover, and more customers who have more money to spend.
Even though a strong majority of Americans across the ideological spectrum support raising the minimum wage, Republicans in Congress refuse to give it a vote. As a result, today Democrats are launching a discharge petition to force action on this widely supported legislation. The Fair Minimum Wage Act was introduced by Congressman George Miller on March 6, 2013, and has 194 cosponsors, but Republicans have failed to schedule a hearing or a mark-up on the bill. The discharge petition will require the House to consider the minimum wage legislation once a majority of Members of Congress (218) have signed the petition.