WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) condemned Senate Republicans for refusing to allow consideration of the Fair Minimum Wage Act to move forward. After today’s vote to advance the bill failed, Brown offered the following statement urging Congress to come together to provide economic opportunity for all Americans:
“There are too many Americans who work full-time jobs to provide for their families but still fall below the poverty line,” Brown said. “Under federal law, minimum wage workers are only guaranteed $7.25 an hour, a wage which hasn’t kept up with inflation. As a result, many families struggle to put food on the table, pay for their gas, and afford their bills. But raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would pull 4.6 million Americans out of poverty and strengthen the U.S. economy as workers spend their livable wages in their community. Congress must come together to help give millions the chance for financial security and our economy the chance to grow.”
According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent of its spending power over the last forty years. But according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), raising the federal minimum wage for both tipped and non-tipped workers would lift 4.6 million people out of poverty. NELP further concluded that the Fair Minimum Wage Act would boost GDP by nearly $33 billion and generate 140,000 new jobs over three years as workers spend their raises in their local businesses and communities.
Last month, Brown helped unveil a new report showing that the federal government would reap significant savings in spending on public assistance programs—like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—by increasing the minimum wage. Released by the Center for American Progress (CAP), the report revealed that nearly 88,600 Ohioans would no longer rely on SNAP if policymakers were to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
The study, which was commissioned by CAP, is a first-of-its-kind report that puts a dollar figure on how much money the government stands to save in SNAP expenditures and provides expected state-by-state enrollment reductions if policymakers were to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. According to CAP, the report found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would lower government spending on SNAP by $46 billion over the next 10 years. Raising the minimum wage would also reduce SNAP enrollments by 3.3 million to 3.8 million people nationwide.
Brown recently met with six Ohio businesses that support raising the Federal minimum wage. They include Brothers Drake Meadery, a restaurant in Columbus where Brown was joined by U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez; the Yankee Kitchen, a diner in Youngstown; Grounds for Thought, a coffeehouse and bookstore in Bowling Green; Dempsey’s, a restaurant in Columbus; Brothers Printing, a print shop in Cleveland; and Synergistic Systems, a computer consulting company also in greater Cleveland.