February 27, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim McDermott 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 McDermott joined his colleagues in signing a discharge petition, led by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY), to bring up 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, indexes future annual increases to inflation thereafter, and gradually increases the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the minimum wage.

“An honest, living wage for a day’s hard work is a foundation of the American Dream and we cannot let that foundation crumble,” said Congressman McDermott.  “That is why I am fighting to raise the minimum wage, which would give 400,000 hardworking Washingtonians a pay raise, totaling $94,963,000 in additional income here in Washington.”

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.  A majority of minimum wage workers are women and the average worker who would get this raise is 35 years old.

Further, increasing the minimum wage will help all Americans by growing our economy and creating jobs, generating some $22 billion in increased economic activity and creating 85,000 new jobs – including 700 in Washington.  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 support raising the minimum wage, Republicans in Congress are refusing to give it a vote.  As a result, today Democrats are launching a discharge petition to force action on this widely supported legislation.  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.

“The American people want and deserve an economy that works for everyone – where everyone has the opportunity to live the American Dream,” Congressman McDermott said.  “Congressional Republicans must heed their voices and allow a vote on this proposal to value work and give Americans a long overdue raise.”