by Mitchell Hirsch, Arun Ivatury and Andrew Bowe
Yes, that’s a ‘Zero’ – and no, it’s not a typo: the number of people who will see their pay rise due to an increase in the federal minimum wage stands at 0.
That’s because Congress has not taken action to raise the federal minimum, which has remained stuck at a poverty-level $7.25 per hour since 2009.
Meanwhile, in just the past two years, thirteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted minimum wage increases, raising pay for 7 million workers, according to a recent White House estimate.
Those jurisdictions include California, D.C., New Jersey and New York, which passed increases in 2013, and Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia, which passed increases this year.
Congressional Republicans continue to stymie efforts to raise the federal minimum wage. In April, 41 Senators – all Republican – voted to block a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over three years. In the House, 195 Representatives have signed a petition to try and force a vote on a similar bill, but House Republican leaders have pledged not to bring it to the floor.
Even as states and localities continue to move ahead, Congressional inaction is leaving 28 million of the nation’s lowest-paid workers behind – and falling further back as price increases continue to erode the value of minimum wage workers’ pay.