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Larsen: Raising The Minimum Wage Helps Make Sure Our Economy Works For Everyone

Millions of workers in low-wage jobs would get a raise if Congress passes a bill that Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, helped introduce today. The Raise the Wage Act would raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 and tie future increases to the median wage. The Act also would gradually eliminate the minimum wage for tipped workers, currently frozen at $2.13 per hour.

“It is time to give millions of our workers a raise so they can more easily put food on their families’ tables and roofs over their heads,” Larsen said. “It is unacceptable that millions of people are working full-time at the minimum wage but still fall under the poverty line.

“Even as our economy is growing and creating jobs, not everyone is sharing in the benefits. The vast majority of income increases in the last few years have gone to top earners, while low- and middle-class workers’ wages have stagnated. Raising the minimum wage and making sure it keeps pace with economic growth are important steps to ensuring our economy works for everyone, not just the wealthiest few,” Larsen said.

One recent study estimates that raising the minimum wage from the current level of $7.25 to $12 would help nearly 38 million workers nationwide, including 642,000 in Washington state. Raising the minimum wage would disproportionately benefit women, who make up about two-thirds of low-wage workers. And nearly 90 percent of those who would benefit from a higher minimum wage are older than 20.

The Raise the Wage Act was introduced in both the House and the Senate.