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Harkin Welcomes White House Support for Minimum Wage Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement upon learning of President Barack Obama’s support for legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, introduced by Harkin in the Senate and Congressman George Miller (D-CA) in the House, would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 in three steps and provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. It would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, currently $2.13 an hour, for the first time in more than 20 years——to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

“President Obama sent a key message in his State of the Union: raising the minimum wage is a crucial factor to strengthening the middle class and growing our economy.  Low-wage jobs and income inequality are only increasing and families are struggling just to put food on the table.  Put simply, this legislation would result in raises for 30 million American workers.  It also has broad support: eighty percent of Americans support this raise, including majorities across political parties. 

“Our legislation would also give a boost to our economy as workers spend their raises in their local stores and communities, increasing GDP by nearly $33 billion and generating 140,000 new jobs over the course of three years.  Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is not just a popular idea or the right thing to do for working families—it is also the smart thing to do for our economy.  I thank the President for his support in this effort.”

A Hart Research poll released in July found that 80 percent of Americans support the Harkin-Miller minimum wage proposal. Ninety-two percent of Democrats, 80 percent of independents, and 62 percent of Republicans support the Harkin-Miller proposal, and three-quarters of Americans also say that raising the minimum wage should be an important priority for Congress to address over the next year, including 38 percent who say it is very important.