CHN: Minimum Wage Bill Introduced
The minimum wage has remained at $5.15 an hour for the past eight years. During this period, inflation has eaten away nearly one-sixth of the minimum wage’s buying power. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Representative George Miller (D-CA) are again attempting to correct this slide by introducing legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005 was introduced with 31 co-sponsors in the Senate (S. 1062). In the House, the bill (H.R. 2429) has 100 co-sponsors.
The legislation would increase the minimum wage to $5.85 an hour 60 days after enactment, then to $6.55 12 months later, and to $7.25/hour 24 months after the bill’s passage.
Some have argued that the minimum wage is simply a low entry level from which workers rapidly rise. But new research by the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that for the majority of minimum wage workers who are between ages 25 and 64, more than one in three will be stuck at the minimum wage for at least three years. (See Center for Economic and Policy Research, Many Minimum Wage Workers Ages 25 to 54 Trapped in Low-Wage Jobs http://www.cepr.net/pressreleases/labor_markets_2005_05_18.htm )
As the minimum wage eroded, the Children’s Defense Fund found that an increasing proportion of the patrons of emergency food facilities were employed (in surveys from 1997 to 2001). In 2004, 9.7 million children lived in households where at least one worker could benefit from the proposed increase. (See Children’s Defense Fund, Increasing the Minimum Wage: An Issue of Children’s Well-Being http://www.childrensdefense.org/familyincome/jobs/minimumwagereport2005.pdf )
For more information,
S. 1062 and H.R. 2429 bill text and sponsors: http://thomas.loc.gov
Economic Policy Institute, Minimum Wage Frequently Asked Questions , last updated March 2005