Begich Outraged that Senate Fails to Increase Minimum Wage
Begich Will Continue Fight to Protect Thousands of Alaska Families, Put Money Back into Local Economies
Pointing out the direct impact on Alaskan women and veterans, U.S. Senator Mark Begich expressed frustration the Senate today refused to move forward toward approval of a hike in the federal minimum wage, a move that could raise 5,000 Alaskans out of poverty and raise incomes for 49,000 Alaskans in minimum wage jobs — including 1,700 Alaskan veterans who would see their paychecks increase. Of the 49,000 Alaskans who will see increased incomes, 56 percent are women.
A vote on a procedural motion that would have allowed an up-or-down vote to increase the minimum wage failed today. Begich voted in favor of moving to increase the minimum wage.
“The minimum wage already lost one-third of its buying power in my lifetime, and hard-working American families are paying the price,” Begich said in a Senate floor speech Tuesday. “Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would lift millions of working Americans out of poverty, reduce their reliance on the safety net, and pump billions more into our economy. It is shameful that there are some in Congress who do not believe in a fair working wage, but I will keep up the fight to support Alaska families and our economy.”
Sen. Begich urges his Senate colleagues to support increasing minimum wage.
Begich noted that his first-hand experience as a small business owner makes him particularly sensitive to the effect of a minimum wage increase on small businesses.
“I’ve had to set wages and make payrolls, so I know what minimum wage increases mean for the bottom line, and I understand the concerns of Alaska small business owners,” said Begich. “That’s why I included language in the Senate bill to make it easier for small and medium businesses to continue to expand. My fix would have provided important tax deductions for businesses that grow or improve their spaces, or buy new equipment. What’s more, it would increase Americans’ buying power, driving demand that is good for business. While I’m disappointed that my colleagues blocked legislation today to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, I will continue to fight for an increase to the minimum wage here in the Senate. ”