Friday, September 01, 2006

Hard Working Americans Need More This Labor Day

This weekend I will be traveling the First District to pay tribute to those who help make our country great. Labor Day is a chance to honor the value of hard working Americans. This country was built on the American Dream, which promised that Americans’ hard work and perseverance would bring prosperity and a better life for workers and their families. Unfortunately, this Labor Day, a time to honor the contributions of American workers, this dream moves further out of reach for millions of minimum wage workers. It is time for Congress to help these families by increasing the Federal Minimum Wage.

With the cost of health care increasing, gas prices increasing, and education funding cuts, hard-working families are struggling to make ends meet. Congress has not raised the Federal Minimum Wage in a decade. In that time, gas prices have increased 136%, health insurance has almost doubled in price, and even the cost of a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread have increased by 25%. Yet, due to the inaction by the Republican leadership, when adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is at its lowest level in more than 50 years.

Millions of Americans currently work full-time, year-round jobs and still live in poverty. We must not allow this to continue. By raising the Minimum Wage, a family of three will receive an additional $4,400 a year. With this modest increase, the family can buy 15 months of groceries and afford over two years of health care.

When Members of Congress return to the Capitol next week, I will fight to increase the Minimum Wage. We need a New Direction that begins with raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.