First Vote to Raise Federal Minimum Wage in Over a Decade Passes; Norcross Votes YES After Years Pushing for Action
March 6, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross – a former minimum-wage worker – voted in favor of the Raise the Wage Act, of which he is a lead sponsor, in the House Committee on Education and Labor. This marked the first vote in more than a decade to raise the federal minimum wage.
“Finally. That’s the only word to describe what is happening in the House of Representatives. We have finally voted for the first time in more than a decade to lift fulltime working Americans out of poverty,” said Congressman Norcross, an electrician by trade. “I’ve worked for minimum wage and I was once a young single dad raising my son and having to balance work, family life and a checkbook. Back then it was hard. Today, for far too many Americans, it's nearly impossible. When people finally receive $15 an hour, they’ll spend more, become less reliant on government assistance and give our economy a needed boost.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Speaker Craig Coughlin joined Norcross for their first public appearance together in November 2017 calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage. Now, that promise has become a reality in the state. Additionally, when Norcross was a member of the New Jersey state legislature, he was part of the successful fight to raise the minimum wage in New Jersey.
Video: Ahead of the vote, Norcross urged colleagues to vote in favor of the Raise the Wage Act.
Norcross added: “Today, we rightfully took the first step in moving the Raise the Wage Act forward – and we need to keep the momentum going until we get to the finish line. My colleagues in Washington need to wake up, follow my home state’s lead and raise the wage.”
The Raise the Wage Act:
- Gradually raises the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour over the next six years to lift millions of workers out of poverty, stimulate local economies and restore the value of minimum wage, and
- Indexes future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage to ensure the value of minimum wage does not once again erode over time.
The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 was introduced by Norcross, the Democratic leadership team and Senator Bernie Sanders with 181 House cosponsors. Click here to read the bill text, click here to read the section-by-section summary and click here to read the fact sheet.
- Norcross applauded New Jersey’s $15 minimum wage agreement on January 17, 2019.
- Norcross and a bicameral group of colleagues introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2019 on January 16, 2018.
- Norcross was unanimously elected to serve as Vice Chair and Liaison to Labor for Congressional Progressive Caucus in the 116th Congress, and said he looks forward to making certain that “every person has the dignity of a good-paying job” on November 29, 2018.
- In an op-ed in Roll Call reacting to the news that Amazon is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, Norcross wrote “Amazon is taking a step in the right direction, and it is well past time for Congress to follow suit” on October 12, 2018.
- Norcross and three of his colleagues issued the findings of their “Future of Work, Wages and Labor” initiative on September 5, 2018.
- Norcross applauded Governor Murphy’s prioritization of raising wages in an op-ed in The Star Ledger on July 22, 2018.
- Norcross, NJ Governor-Elect Phil Murphy, NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney and NJ Assembly Speaker-Designee Craig Coughlin stood with labor leaders and workers to call on all levels of government to raise wages for hardworking American families on November 20, 2017.
- Norcross reacted to the announcement that Target will raise minimum wage on September 25, 2017.
- Norcross published an op-ed in The Record titled “When they go low, we go higher wages” on September 9, 2017.
- Norcross hosted colleagues in South Jersey for a day-long forum on ‘The Future of Work, Wages and Labor’ on August 4, 2017.
- Norcross expressed strong support for the new Democratic agenda ‘A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future' on July 24, 2017.
- Eight years after the last federal minimum wage increase, Norcross called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage at a news conference with a bicameral group of lawmakers and low-wage workers on July 25, 2017.
- Norcross and all of House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats urged Chairwoman Virginia Foxx to hold a full Committee hearing on the Raise the Wage Act in a letter on July 24, 2017.
- Norcross wrote “first and foremost for me is raising wages” in an op-ed Sunday, July 23, 2017.
- Norcross and colleagues introduced the Raise the Wage Act on May 25, 2017.
- Norcross was appointed to serve on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and he vowed to represent New Jersey labor and working families on January 5, 2017.
Contact: Ally Kehoe, Communications Director