Pelosi wants to send minimum wage directly to the floor for a vote:
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to fast-track efforts to boost the federal minimum wage and could seek to bring a bill directly to the House floor in January.
The new Democrat-controlled 110th Congress convenes on Jan. 4 and Pelosi of California has made clear that raising the federal minimum wage is a top priority she wants the House to accomplish in its first 100 hours of legislative business.
At this point, Pelosi's preference is for a "stand alone" minimum wage bill that is not tied to other legislative endeavors, Daly and others said.
The article says that the bill will most likely still have to work its way through committees in the Senate, where they would "try to sweeten the pot with other things such as faster depreciation, for instance, of restaurant buildings, something the restaurant industry would like."
Republicans including President Bush have signaled their willingness to go along with a minimum wage hike as long as the bill includes offsets for the increased costs to small business. This would clash with the notion of a standalone bill, but it may be the only way to get it passed and signed into law.
Meanwhile, here are some facts about the minimum wage from the Economics Policy Institute:
- The earnings of minimum wage workers are crucial to their families' well-being. Evidence from an analysis of the 1996-97 minimum wage increase shows that the average minimum wage worker brings home more than half (54%) of his or her family's weekly earnings.
- Adults make up the largest share of workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase: 80% of workers whose wages would be raised by a minimum wage increase to $7.25 by 2008 are adults (age 20 or older).
- Over half (54%) of workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase work full time and another third (30%) work between 20 and 34 hours per week.
This is contrary to the myth that only teenagers working entry-level jobs make minimum wage. In fact, the EPI says 1,395,000 single parents with children under 18 would benefit from an increased minimum wage, which, adjusted for inflation, is at its lowest level since 1955.