Monday, April 23, 2007

Minimum Wage Increase Will Go To White House For Signature

Congressional Democrats, eager to win an important victory for working families, have agreed to $5 billion in tax breaks for small businesses to get a minimum-wage increase past Republicans and George W. Bush's veto pen. Republicans have fought the wage hike for ten years but, with Democrats assuming control of Congress in January, the GOP's time of holding down the working poor is over.

“I am pleased that the House and Senate have reached an agreement that --- after 10 long years -- will finally allow a minimum wage increase to proceed to the President’s desk," said Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who has for years led the fight to gain something resembling a livable wage for all Americans. "After a decade of struggle, fairness and decency finally are winning out for 13 million hardworking Americans who have been waiting too long for a raise. Six million children have been waiting too long for better food, better health, and better opportunities for the future."

The Democratic legislation will raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, from $5.15 an hour, over two years.

"While I have always supported a minimum wage increase with no strings attached, I’m glad that we’ve been able to agree on a smaller tax package than the Senate-passed bill," Kennedy continued. "I don’t believe we need to load on more tax breaks for business before we can give Americans a raise."

But let's all hold off on drinking a toast to Republicans finally being defeated on raising the minimum wage, which is at its lowest real buying power in 50 years. Signing this into law will require Bush to actually do the right thing -- and we know what an ongoing struggle he has with doing that.