JANUARY 22, 2007
3:34 PM

Esmeralda Aguilar (202) 637-5018

Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney Urging the Senate to Pass a 'Clean' Minimum Wage Raise

WASHINGTON - January 22 - The Senate should pass a fair and clear-cut minimum wage increase for our nation’s working poor, with no special strings attached for business.

Last year, Democratic Senators were successful in rejecting the Republican leadership’s cynical ploy to use the minimum-wage proposal as a vehicle to give tax cut pay offs to corporate special interests and the wealthiest Americans. Similar stunts must be stopped this time around. Today we are urging Senators to vote “yes” on a clean minimum wage bill in order to prevent even more business pay offs and anti-worker add-ons to what should be a straightforward piece of legislation.

There's no good reason to lard the Senate minimum wage bill with yet another round of unwarranted tax breaks for business. In the last 10 years, the Republican-led Congress provided corporations with $276 billion in tax cuts and provided small businesses with another $36 billion in dedicated tax breaks.

Senate leaders must squash the business lobby’s myth about how raising the minimum wage will hurt small business and cost our nation jobs. In fact, numerous studies have shown that raising the minimum wage does not cost our nation jobs, but instead raises the wage floor for all workers.

For too long, Republican leaders have attempted to frog-march the Senate toward becoming a special-interest machine for giant corporations. We’re counting on our nation’s new leadership to put on the brakes. The Senate should toss the business tax-cut add-on to the congressional scrap heap and give workers the clean $2.10 raise they justly deserve.

Thirteen million workers and their families who urgently need this legislation are depending on them.