Norcross: Now Is Our Chance to Do What Americans Need & Deserve – Raise the Minimum Wage
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross – a member of the House Education and Labor Committee and an electrician by trade – joined a bicameral group of colleagues, including the Democratic leadership team and Senator Bernie Sanders, in introducing the Raise the Wage Act of 2019.
“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,” said Congressman Norcross. “No American who works full-time should live in poverty. But that’s exactly what’s happening all around us, and Congress hasn’t even voted to raise wages in over 11 years.”
Norcross added: “The system now hurts our economy, hurts taxpayers and is morally offensive. 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 $15 an hour minimum wage. In the New Jersey state legislature, Norcross was part of the successful fight to raise the minimum wage in New Jersey.
Norcross said: “South Jersey employers like Cooper, Jefferson, Virtua and Amazon are leading the way; they all recently announced they’ll be raising the wage to at least $15 an hour because they know the current floor is far too low. And business groups, employers and working families agree – America’s workers deserve a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.”
Norcross was also an original sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act of 2017 in the last Congress and looks forward to working with the Democratic majority in the House to pass the re-introduced bill. The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 was introduced 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.
“A $15 federal minimum wage affirms the bedrock idea of fairness in our country: that hard work deserves a decent wage. We will open up opportunities for working families and drive economic growth that lifts up all communities – because our economy works best when it works for everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged few. I commend Chairman Bobby Scott and all our House Democrats for their leadership for America’s working men and women, who are the backbone of our country,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Just a few short years ago, we were told that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was ‘radical.’ But a grassroots movement of millions of workers throughout this country refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it. The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be increased to a living wage of $15 an hour,” said Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty. The Raise the Wage Act will increase the pay and standard of living for nearly 40 million workers across this country. Raising the minimum wage is not only good for workers, it is good for businesses, and good for the economy. When we put money in the pockets of American workers, they will spend that money in their communities. This bill is a stimulus for Main Street America,” said Chairman Bobby Scott, Committee on Education and Labor.
“For a long time, Democrats have been trying to raise the minimum wage to keep pace with the times. The harsh truth of the matter is that the minimum wage is now a poverty wage in too many parts of America. And no American with a full-time job should be living in poverty. Despite campaigning as a champion for working Americans, President Trump has abandoned working Americans while in office. He’s tried to strip away workers’ health care, given a massive tax cut to corporations and the wealthy, and used workers as bargaining chips in shutting the government down. If President Trump isn’t going to stick up for American workers on key issues such as raising the minimum wage, Democrats will,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“I was proud to help lead the charge to increase the minimum wage the last time Democrats held the House Majority. It has been too long since workers have received the raise they deserve. Democrats promised to improve economic opportunities for workers and their families in the 2018 election, and the introduction today of the Raise the Wage Act as one of our first bills in the Majority demonstrates our intention to keep that promise. I look forward to working with Chairman Scott and Education and Labor Committee Democrats to bring this legislation to the Floor following Committee consideration,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
“There are millions of women and men across the country who work a full-time job, or work multiple jobs, and are still unable to pay their bills and make ends meet. Women make up almost two-thirds of minimum wage earners and it’s even worse for women of color. So I’m proud to introduce the Raise the Wage Act today as one of the many steps we can take to ensure workers, especially the millions of women supporting their families, have the economic security to build better lives,” said Senator Murray, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
“More than a decade after Congress last voted to raise the minimum wage, no family in the United States can live on $7.25 an hour. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do and long past due. While some cities and states have led on this issue, we must raise the wage everywhere – from Madison, Wisconsin, to Mobile, Alabama – to ensure that every American worker can succeed. Every Member of Congress should recognize the urgent need to raise the wage, and if they support a salary of only $15,080 per year, they should be forced to live on it. I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance it through the 116th Congress,” said Congressman Mark Pocan.
“Over the last decade, most working families have seen an increase in the cost of almost everything they need, yet their wages have barely moved. No person who has the dignity of a full time job should face the indignity of not being able to provide for themselves and their loved ones. This bill will finally give hardworking families in central Florida a much-needed raise - putting more money in their pockets to spend at small businesses and helping to grow our economy for everyone,” said Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy.
- 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