ON SENATE FLOOR SHAHEEN CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE

April 29, 2014

(Washington, DC) -  U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) went to the Senate floor this afternoon to urge her colleagues to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. An increase in the minimum wage would result in a raise for more than 110,000 people in New Hampshire and help lift more than 10,000 Granite Staters out of poverty.

Shaheen’s remarks as prepared for delivery are included below:

Mr. President, along with many of my colleagues, I rise today to support an increase in the minimum wage that would give 28 million American workers a long overdue raise.

I know that the years since the economic collapse in 2008 have been hard for families in New Hampshire and across the country.  Although CEO salaries seem to rise each day, pay for working families has stagnated. 

While the cost of food, transportation and childcare all continue to climb, and families struggle to make ends meet, the minimum wage for American workers has been stuck at $7.25 per hour since 2009. 

At that rate, a single mother working full-time in New Hampshire does not earn enough to keep her family out of poverty. 

Adults working full time cannot support their families on the minimum wage.

That needs to change. 

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 over two years, providing a raise to nearly 20 percent of New Hampshire’s workforce and lifting 10,000 people in our state out of poverty.

Nationwide, one-third of all minimum wage workers are women over the age of 25. 

In New Hampshire, 70 percent of minimum wage workers are women. 

This effort is about these women and the 34,000 children in the Granite State whose parents would have a little more in their paycheck each week if we increase minimum pay to $10.10.

I know that many critics claim only teenagers hold minimum wage jobs, but that’s just not true.  Teens make up only 12 percent of those who would get a raise if we boosted pay to $10.10. 

Minimum wage workers are also veterans. 

The Fair Minimum Wage Act is also about giving a raise to the 4,500 New Hampshire veterans who earn $7.25 an hour and are struggling to get by. 

I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to give these veterans a raise.

Making sure workers in New Hampshire get a fair wage for an honest day’s work is something I have focused on since I was Governor.  In 1997, I signed a bill into law that boosted minimum wages for tipped workers in our state, nearly 75 percent of whom are women. 

As was the case then, today we must act to raise the minimum wage to ensure that hardworking Americans have a fair shot at success. 

I urge my colleagues to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act and I yield the floor.