Making The Point For Working Families
Geiger: One ongoing drama I've seen in watching the Senate every day is the battle that Senator Kennedy has had over the minimum wage — and seeing how many times that's been shot down by the Republicans unless it happened to be attached to an Estate Tax cut. I think people are very encouraged with what they expect to happen with that in the coming months and what I'm wondering, sir, is that for low-income Americans who may be a little disillusioned with Washington and maybe not understand how it operates, what can you say to them about the minimum wage being raised with Democrats in charge of the Congress?
Reid: To show you how strongly we feel about this, we told the Republicans that there will be no Congressional pay raise unless you raise the minimum wage. There's no minimum wage increase, there's no Congressional pay raise for the first time in many years.
We're serious about this. We want the people in this country, the hardest working, to be able to work instead of going on welfare and make a living. Right now, you can't do that. You make a little over $10,000 a year working 40 hours a week — try living on that. It's very hard to do. So I feel comfortable that we can pass a minimum wage increase. I guess I put it in this vernacular: I dare the Republicans to stop us from doing it. [Audio]
Geiger: Do you feel confident that it will happen in the first month or two of the new Congress?
Reid: It will happen in the first six weeks that we're back.
Clear, concise, and right on point for working families. If this keeps up, I may actually be able to smile more often while watching C-Span come January. For more on miminum wage discussions, try this article from The Nation, this one from David Sirota, this from the NYTimes, just for starters. Funny how having not raised the minimum wage in close to 20 years is a huge, huge bone of contention — but the Congress having raised it's own wages by around $35,000 the last few years is much ado about nothing, isn't it?