For Immediate Release
May 25, 2007
Mike Webb, Brennan Center, 212-998-6746
Paul Sonn, Brennan Center, 212-998-6328
First Federal Wage Hike in 10 Years
Ending a ten year freeze, today Congress approved the first increase in the federal minimum wage since 1997. The measure was included in the Iraq war supplemental spending bill, and is expected to be signed by President Bush.
This is a long overdue step to bring our minimum wage back to where it should be, said Paul Sonn, co-director of the Economic Justice Project at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. But Congresss work isnt over. The minimum wage needs to be raised a couple of dollars more to make up for lost ground.
The new increase will boost the federal minimum wage from its current $5.15 an hour to $7.25 by July 2009. After the increase, the federal wage will still be lower than the minimum wages in up to 15 states. Minimum wage supporters led by Senator Edward M. Kennedy are expected to introduce new wage legislation in the next few weeks.
The Brennan Center works with federal, state and local policymakers to strengthen our nations wage protections for low-income families. In 2006, the Center supported successful ballot initiative campaigns that raised and indexed the minimum wage in six states. For more background on the Centers minimum wage advocacy, visit our website.