Democrats in the GOP-led U.S. House filed a discharge petition on Wednesday requesting an immediate vote on a bill that would lift the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $10.10.
“To not have this vote is to abdicate our responsibility to the middle class,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA,12) said at press conference today, according to The Hill. “Mr. Speaker, give us a vote!”
A majority of House lawmakers, at least 218 members, have to sign on to the discharge petition in order to force consideration of H.R. 1010, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over a two-year period.
Under H.R. 1010, future minimum wage increases would be tied to inflation. And the base wage for tipped workers, which is currently $2.13 an hour, would be 70 percent of the overall minimum wage.
U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY,1), who filed the discharge petition, stated that he is “pretty confident” all 199 House Democrats will sign on to the measure to call H.R. 1010 for a vote. The discharge petition needs some support from the GOP, and Bishop said he has immediate plans to reach out to six moderate Republicans who have previously stated that people should not be living in poverty if they work full-time.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, the representative for Illinois' 11th Congressional District, is among the House Democrats who have already signed on to the discharge petition.
“As a businessman who started a high-tech firm that provides hundreds of good manufacturing jobs in the Midwest, I know the value in paying workers a living wage,” Foster said. “It doesn’t just help workers struggling to support their families, it supports economic growth.”
Foster added that the "American dream isn’t achievable when workers have to take two or three jobs just to earn a living wage."
"We can and must do better,” the congressman said.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is reportedly working to get Democrats on the same page regarding a federal minimum wage increase before he brings the issue to the floor for a vote in the upper chamber.