Congressman Francis Rooney voted in favor of H.R. 582 – the Raise the Wage Act. This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to gradually increase the federal minimum wage for regular employees over a 6-year period. It also provides for a review by the General Accounting Office of the impact of the 1st and 2nd year increases to assure that there are no adverse consequences.
Congressman Rooney stated, “This 6-year gradual increase brings the minimum wage in line with inflation. The 6-year increases avoid disruptive changes to the workplace. Earlier this week I offered an amendment, which was rejected, to establish a “purchasing power parity option” which would allow states and cities to adjust the wages for local conditions. What $26 buys in Ft. Myers may cost $50 in New York City. While this would have been a better option, the bill that passed will provide the gradual increases necessary to improve worker pay, keep up with inflation and mitigate the wage inequality which has increased over the last 20 years.
- An amendment has been included to require the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress, between the second and third scheduled increases, on the economic and employment impacts. The report is a safeguard which will allow Congress to determine whether further legislative action is needed to delay or modify the remaining scheduled wage increases.
- Most CEOs support the minimum wage increase as planned – a gradual raise over a set period
- Wage inequality is a major challenge we face, and a gradual increase will help mitigate this issue
- The federal minimum wage has been raised 22 times since its creation in 1938, under both Republican and Democrat Administrations
- The current federal min wage, established in 2009, is $7.25
- The bill eliminates the separate minimum wage requirements for tipped, newly hired, and disabled employees. After a specified period, these employees shall be paid the same minimum wage as regular employee.