Bruce Braley and Senator Tom Harkin today discussed the importance of raising the minimum wage and providing 300,000 Iowans with a pay raise during a visit to the La Quercia company plant in Norwalk. Braley and Harkin have both been fighting to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour to restore its purchasing power and strengthen Iowa’s economy.In contrast, State Sen. Joni Ernst has repeatedly said that she does not support a federal minimum wage and that she thinks $7.25 an hour – which means roughly $15,000 a year for a full-time worker – is an appropriate minimum wage for hardworking Iowans.
Braley said, “No one in Iowa should work a full-time job and live near or below the poverty line. It’s been over five years since the last federal minimum wage increase, and the minimum wage buys less and less for Iowa’s workers. Small businesses like La Quercia know raising the minimum wage is good for working Iowans, good for business, and good for the economy – and yet my opponent thinks $7.25 is an appropriate wage for Iowa’s workers. Senator Harkin has been a champion on this issue, and I am committed to continuing his efforts to raise the minimum wage, boost Iowa’s economy, and provide 300,000 Iowans with a raise.”
A report from Progress Iowa earlier this year found that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would provide 300,000 Iowans with a pay increase and infuse more than $270 million into Iowa’s economy.
Since reaching its peak in 1968 at $10.69 an hour (in 2013 dollars), the minimum wage’s purchasing power has steadily declined and left working Iowans struggling to support their families.
“Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is an issue of basic economic fairness and opportunity,” said Harkin. “There’s a clear choice in this election – Bruce Braley knows that a fair minimum wage is good for Iowa’s working families, and good for the economy. Iowa families need a U.S. Senator like Bruce who will fight for them.”
Braley is a sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10/hr and then tie future increases to inflation. According to a Des Moines Register poll, 65% of Iowans believe the minimum wage should be increased.