U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon voted to increase the
federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, providing a benefit to 150,000
\"This bill will make a real difference to working families in
Tennessee,\" said Gordon, a co-sponsor of the legislation. \"While the
minimum wage has been stagnant for ten years, the cost of living has
increased dramatically. Groceries cost 25 percent more now than in 1997,
and tuition, health care and gasoline costs have doubled.\"
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was approved by the U.S. House
of Representatives today (Jan. 10). The bill now heads to the Senate for
The bill provides for a gradual increase in the federal minimum
wage, beginning with an increase to $5.85 an hour 60 days after the
legislation is enacted. After one year, it would increase to $6.55, and the
final increase to $7.25 would occur after two years.
The minimum wage has stayed at its current level for nine years,
longer than any time in the history of the law. When adjusted for
inflation, the minimum wage is at its lowest level in 50 years.
At $5.15 an hour, a full-time minimum wage worker brings home
just $10,712 a year. In contrast, the average CEO earns more before
lunchtime than a minimum wage worker earns all year.
\"Thirteen million Americans, including 3.4 million parents,
stand to benefit from this legislation,\" said Gordon. \"They deserve a fair
wage for an honest day's work. No American who works full-time all year
should live in poverty.\"
Gordon also said opponents of the minimum wage increase are
incorrect in saying that raising the minimum wage would hurt job growth.
\"Between 1997 and 2003, employment in small businesses actually
grew more in states with a minimum wage that was higher than the federal
minimum wage,\" said Gordon, citing a study released last year by the Center
for American Progress.
\"The years following the 1997 increase were some of our nation's
most prosperous times because those extra dollars were pumped back into the