(Host) Democratic congressional candidate Peter Welch says it’s time for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage.
The federal wage is currently $5.15 an hour, and the last time Congress raised the rate was in 1995.
Welch says he’ll back legislation to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. He also wants to include an automatic cost-of-living provision in the bill.
Welch chose the $7.25 an hour rate to match Vermont’s minimum wage rate.
(Welch) “We’ve got to make work pay. We’ve got to value work. We’ve got to reward effort. We’ve got to have a value that’s incorporated in the Congress that recognizes that people who are willing to work hard are able to pay their bills.”
(Host) Welch says it’s appropriate to raise the federal minimum wage, because since 1995, Congress has voted itself several sizeable pay increases:
(Welch) “Since ’95 Congress has had eight separate increases that total $31,000. It’s wrong that the people on the top of the scale do so well and people down at the bottom end up falling farther and farther behind.”
(Host) Welch also criticized the Republican leadership in Congress for passing an extension of the president’s tax cuts earlier this month.
Welch says he would have voted against this bill because virtually all of the benefits are targeted at wealthier individuals.