Congress Quietly Passes Minimum Wage Bill
The latest Iraq funding bill also carries language to raise the federal minimum wage. The difference is only $2.10, and reactions are mixed; please see the photo section on the right.
The measure will raise the federal minimum wage level to $7.25 per hour over the next two years. The current federal baseline wage is $5.15 per hour. Arizona voters approved a ballot measure in November that upped the state wage law to $6.75 per hour. The federal law will supersede the state hike.
Business groups routinely oppose minimum wage hikes, contending they will hurt small businesses and teenage workers. Unions counter that boosting the baseline wage will help the working poor and overall working class wages.
The Iraq bill saw Democrats relent in their effort to put a specific withdrawal date for U.S. troops in the war zone. Bush vetoed an earlier bill with that provision.
The latest bill did not include a specific withdrawal date despite public support for getting U.S. troops out of Baghdad.
Do you think $7.25 is enough? Between health care, food, transportation and accomodation costs, one must wonder. The stereotypical minimum-wage earner is a teen in his or her first job, but the reality is quite different: people switching careers, recent immigrants, and parolees, to name a few, find themselves caught inthe minimum-wage trap.