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Whitehouse, Langevin, Cicilline Call for Minimum Wage Increase

With legislation to increase the federal minimum wage pending in Congress, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline hosted a roundtable discussion to hear from working Rhode Islanders, the business community, advocates, and economists on the need to raise the minimum wage.  The lawmakers held the event at the Community Action Partnership of Providence on Tuesday.

Whitehouse is a cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which is expected to get a vote in the Senate in coming weeks.  Both Langevin and Cicilline are consponsors of the companion bill in the House.  The legislation would gradually increase the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, and then index it to inflation. 

“Despite working long hours, too many Rhode Island families struggle to pay rent and put food on the table. Meanwhile, businesses see customers with less money to spend,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which has jurisdiction over wage-related legislation. “It’s time to give hard working Rhode Islanders the living wage they deserve, and I thank all of today’s participants for sharing their perspectives.”

“No one in this country should work a full-time job and not be able to make ends meet,” said Congressman Langevin. “Raising the minimum wage is an opportunity creator that will strengthen the middle class and improve the lives of hardworking Americans who want to support their families. That money, in turn, goes back into the local economy. It’s a win-win.”

“Too many U.S. workers who are earning the minimum wage are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet,” said Cicilline, who is an original cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act. “This is wrong and a reflection of growing income inequality in our country. When the middle class prospers, all of us are better off and raising the minimum wage will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans, create jobs, and strengthen the economy.”

“It is great that there is an effort to increase the minimum wage,” said Melissa Husband, Executive Director of CAPP.  “What we see here at Community Action Partnership of Providence is that many residents we serve need more than an increase in the minimum wage, but we are glad to see this step in the right direction.”

As authorized under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal minimum wage requires employers to pay workers at least $7.25 per hour.  That rate hasn’t changed since 2009.  Currently, a full-time worker earning the minimum wage earns less than $15,000 per year – below the poverty level for a family of two.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly had the headline "Reed, Whitehosue, Cicilline call for Minimum Wage Increase."

We apologize for the error.

EG February 18, 2014 at 02:13 PM
CBO study shows it will cost 500,000 jobs. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44995
Steve A February 18, 2014 at 02:41 PM
These clowns vote in step with their party 99% of the time. I could train a monkey to do the same job for the cost of just a few bananas, thereby saving the State of RI millions of dollars.
Jesus Christ February 18, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Thank God someone is looking out for the working class. Someone needs to tell these buisness owners that Lincoln freed the slaves.
Bob February 18, 2014 at 02:57 PM
Wow ...there's a real think tank.....more like just plain tanking tank....No end to these losers is there....Slow day in DC I guess or perhaps Lil Davy wanted come home and frolic in the snow..... Embarrassing...
Steve A February 18, 2014 at 02:59 PM
I think Jesus knows how to spell.
Einstein February 18, 2014 at 03:27 PM
Here are Three Idiots that never held a job in their lives.
Rose February 18, 2014 at 05:43 PM
Increasing the minimum wage will give the economy a much needed boost and help the struggling working class. Thank you to our forward thinking congressmen.
RicSam February 18, 2014 at 07:17 PM
Moe, Larry & Curley have spoken, wonder what Shemp is up to
Lisa herbert February 18, 2014 at 08:03 PM
Raising the minimum wage has been done many many times and it has never ever done what these politicians suggest. They are really unimformed and ineffective. RI voters are idiots to keep voting morons in. Pell is sure to be our next governor .
Vinnie B. February 18, 2014 at 08:13 PM
10.10 is still a slaves wage, who you kidding. Pay the people that are doing the leg work for you to afford the crap you have. Scumbags would rather hire illegals and pay below minimum wage in order to keep their 5000 sq. ft. house, a boat, a lake house and exotic cars.
dphs18 February 18, 2014 at 08:18 PM
Poor Rose still thinks she is voting for the JFK democrats. The ask not what you can do for your country days are over. The New Democrats believe in the exact opposite. The government will take care of everything for you. We don't know or care where the money is coming from, but if you vote for us we will give you lots of free stuff.
dphs18 February 18, 2014 at 08:43 PM
More like Vin = communist.
Politics Sheriff of NK February 18, 2014 at 10:24 PM
1/2 million jobs could be affected, but 16 million workers will have improved lives. Also, if you look at the history of the min wage in historical terms, and in 2013 dollars, it was $10/hr or higher in the best times, and rose usually during democrat administrations. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-S8d2PU2pQVw/Ussvx9wlmbI/AAAAAAAADLY/n_57AQlja_Q/s1600/minimumwage.png
George Costanza February 18, 2014 at 10:32 PM
I don't like any of these politicians, especially Cicilline ( a Liar), but raising the minimum wage is a good idea. A majority of the companies who pay their employees a minimum wage are retail (primarily supermarkets and convenience stores). Those businesses aren't going anywhere. I would rather have retail pay minimum wage, then my tax dollars going to food stamps and wellfare for the employees of these retailers
Chmn February 19, 2014 at 06:37 AM
And what do you tell the pearson now making 10.00/hr? "Welcome back to minimum wage?" Tying the minimum wage to the rate of inflation is inflationary. I guess everyone is now going to request a 25% wage increase.
BOB I February 19, 2014 at 07:05 AM
just another vote buying scheme.
M.K. Corriveau February 19, 2014 at 07:27 AM
Hmmmm... slave wages?... Slaves don't get paid...income inequality?... yup entry level jobs are just that. You are not supposed to spend your life flippin burgers at Mickey D's... it's called education... getting a trade...so where does the money come from to increase the minimum wage? Liberals are bound and determined to create a socialist government much like the old USSR... and just how did that work out?... Capitalism works... Socialism does not...
Chris12 February 19, 2014 at 08:09 AM
These self-serving vote groveling politicians did not get in office by accident. THIS is the government you voted for. We have an election in Nov. VOTE THEM ALL OUT!
Vinnie B. February 19, 2014 at 10:48 AM
Higher paying entry level jobs would help students put themselves through college without mortgaging 3/4 of their future. You hypocrites don't want to touch the pockets of the person writing the check, but are all for keeping it out of the entry levelers pocket. I have a education, and i'm a tradesman. The only people that have a problem with this proposal are selfish scumbags.
EG February 19, 2014 at 11:16 AM
We need to change this winner take all system. If you have 51% of the votes, you can't just ignore the 49% of the voters.
Chris12 February 19, 2014 at 11:18 AM
Vinnie - I f a person (student) picks a college they can not afford that is their problem not the problem of any employer. We live in an instant gratification society. Raising the min wage will not prevent some people from spending more than they earn. The self-serving politicians have dumped $17TRILLION worth of debt on us, our children, and grandchildren. Now they are vote groveling by trying to raise the min wage. The real scumbags are the politicians that are destroying our communities and our country.
Otto February 19, 2014 at 12:46 PM
Vin's logic is why we are last in just about every economic measurement and it also explains why these clowns keep getting re-elected. Why stop at $10.10 an hour, why not make it $25.00 an hour that will really stick it to those greedy small business owners.
Einstein February 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Does anyone remember anything these three Clowns did to help RI? All the do is march lock-step with Obama and Harry Reid.
Stephen Weber February 19, 2014 at 01:01 PM
I hope nobody falls for this (political ploy) We have to vote out every single one of these liberal sissies... No more democrats!!!!! How long before the liberals and Obama want to put cameras in our bedrooms and bathrooms to watch us or make Americans slaves to all their illegal immigrant buddies....NO MORE DEMOCRATS!!!!!!
Bob Washburn February 19, 2014 at 05:44 PM
Raising minimum wage will only cause employers to reduce head count and/or raise prices, causing inflation. Most people don't stay at minimum wage, get raises and ofte promotions. I started at minimum in 1951 for 78 cents per hour in high school. Probably got a raise in a year. Etc etc.
Vinnie B. February 19, 2014 at 06:36 PM
Chris12 - and the moron that recommended his idiocy, pull your head out of your @$$ and educate yourselves. http://www.asa.org/policy/resources/stats/
Chris12 February 19, 2014 at 07:19 PM
Vinnie - This is stat came from the website you recommended. • About 65 percent of high-debt student loan borrowers misunderstood or were surprised by aspects of their student loans or the student loan process. (Source: Young Invincibles) Increasing the min wage will not help these students. In fact I don't know what will...Borowwing thousands of $$$ and not knowing what you are signing up for?????
Catamount February 19, 2014 at 10:35 PM
These guys are great at making one feel they are going to be bettering the life of those who will benefit by increasing the minimum wage. What is actually happening is an increase in income tax, social security FICA etc. Higher wages equates to more in the pocket of the government. Tax revenues is the bottom line here.
dphs18 February 20, 2014 at 08:08 AM
Vinnie just can't bring himself to admit that liberalism is a failure. The way to a prosperous economy is to let people keep their hard earned money so that they will spend some and be able to save for college. Vinnie and friends believe that the government knows whats best for you and will take whatever they want from you and your family. They keep control over a segment of the population with their generous social programs, EBT, welfare, (etc). Unfortunately, those very programs are keeping that segment and generations in a cycle of poverty with no chance of breaking the cycle as long as democrats remain in control.
Ralph March 12, 2014 at 03:36 PM
Perhaps I'm old school but I thought the minimum wage was a starting point not a way to support a family. These idiots are pandering to the lower class in hopes of buying votes and it's disgraceful, shame on them!

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