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Sherrod B.
Democrat OH

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  • Marketplace Fairness Act—Motion to Proceed

    by Senator Sherrod Brown

    Posted on 2013-04-18

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    BROWN. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tester). Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I ask to speak as in morning business for up to 6 minutes.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Fair Minimum Wage Act Mr. BROWN. Seventy-five years ago, President Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act. This legislation, proposed by Senator Hugo Black in 1932, ultimately ensured American workers would receive a minimum wage, reasonable work hours, and an end to child labor.

    President Roosevelt led our country out of the worst economic climate we have ever faced. He led us to decades of prosperity by ensuring hard work in our Nation is met with two fundamental American rights--fair wages and decent working conditions.

    In the 20th century, the minimum wage lifted millions of Americans from poverty and allowed them to begin the step toward joining the middle class. In the 21st century a fair livable minimum wage can continue moving our country forward.

    Even as corporate executives and Wall Street banks are earning record profits, too many families are struggling. Americans who work hard and play by the rules should be able to take care of their families. Too many people in my home State, in places such as Youngstown, Lorain, Portsmouth, and Norwood are working harder than ever and barely getting by.

    Nearly 1.3 million Ohioans in places such as Chillicothe and Mansfield work in a minimum wage job. Working full time in a minimum wage job in Ohio pays about $16,000 per year because our minimum wage is a bit higher. The Federal minimum wage today pays only $15,000 per year, $3,000 below the poverty level for a family of three.

    It is not much to live on for families trying to put food on the table, fill a gas tank, send their children to school or provide a safe place for them to live. The minimum wage in this country should be a livable wage.

    This is why I am fighting to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act. It would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in three 95-cent increments, then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living.

    The bill would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time in 20 years. The tip minimum wage now stands at $2.13 an hour. This bill would increase it to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

    More than 1.2 million people in Ohio would receive a raise because of our bill. Millions of people around the country in places such as Helena, Butte, and Billings would have an increase in their standard of living.

    The vast majority of minimum wage earners, despite what some in this body say--some 88 percent--are adult workers. They are not 16- and 17- year-old high school students. They are 18 and above, with many of them supporting families. More than half are women.

    Eighteen million children, nearly one-quarter of all American children, have parents who would receive a raise. Over the past 2 weeks, I have met with people in my home State who earn low wages, and I listened to their stories.

    Ms. Walter, a server from Youngstown in northeast Ohio, struggled to raise three boys as a single mother.

    Ms. Day, a cake decorator from Bowling Green, works two jobs because the salary of one isn't enough to provide for her two children. She says she doesn't need a lot but just a little more.

    This bill matters. It matters for the grandmother who works an evening shift at a restaurant to enable her to care for her grandchildren during the day. It matters for the elder care worker who takes two buses to work, and it matters for all of the working-class families who work hard and play by the rules. It is not only about the families who will be directly affected.

    Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour will also help the economy. It will increase GDP by more than $30 billion over the course of 3 years as workers spend their raises in local businesses and communities. Opponents to the increase in minimum wage say people will not hire; it will cost jobs.

    It is actually the opposite. This economic activity created by more spending in communities as a result of more money in minimum wage earners' pockets would generate 140,000 new jobs over these 3 years. This is why business owners support raising the minimum wage.

    The owners of Brothers Printing and Synergistic Systems in the Cleveland area both pay their workers more than the minimum wage. It means they have less turnover. It means their workers have a better standard of living, and it helps their community. They do this because it is the right thing to do. It helps them keep their best employees and strengthens their businesses and their commitment. Plain and simple, ensuring a fair wage is good for America's families. It is good for America's economy.

    I note the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Brown). The clerk will call the roll.

    The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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