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Congresswoman Linda Sánchez Joins U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy And Actor Ben Affleck To Introduce Bill To Raise Minimum Wage

April 29, 2004
Press Release
Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Linda Sánchez released a Government Reform study on the “real” value of the minimum wage at a press conference announcing the introduction of the “Fair Minimum Wage Act.” At the press conference, Senator Kennedy and Congressman George Miller announced that they are introducing legislation to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.00 per hour. Actor Ben Affleck, whose parents were low-wage workers at Harvard University, joined the lawmakers to unveil the new legislation.

Sánchez, as a Member of the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, commissioned the study with her co-founders of the “U.S. House Labor and Working Families Caucus,” Congressmen Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Michael Michaud (D-ME).

“We commissioned the study to examine whether the minimum wage is meeting the needs of working families. In an era of deficits, high unemployment, and tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of all Americans, it is important to fully understand the financial state of America’s working families,” said Congresswoman Linda Sánchez a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 441, and former Orange County AFL-CIO executive.

According to the study, there has been a massive 40% decline in the minimum wage since 1968, and it has declined by 15% since it was last increased in 1997. The minimum wage is now approaching an all-time 55-year low.

“It’s appalling that the minimum wage has not been increased since 1997. This is the second longest period without an increase since its creation in 1938. For the millions of families who work hard, play by the rules, and still barely scrape by, the time has come for them to get what they truly earn a fair days pay for a fair days work,” said Congresswoman Linda Sánchez.

“Today is a great day for working families across the country. The “Fair Minimum Wage Act” would provide a much-needed lifeline for thirty-four million hard working Americans, who are forced to make impossible choices -- between paying rent and buying groceries, or between paying the heating bill and buying warm clothes,” concluded Sánchez.

A copy of the full report on the value of the Minimum wage is attached. The study was conducted by the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform at the direction of Ranking Member, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA).