Speeches and Statements

Rep. Murphy Speech as Prepared for Delivery, on Raise the Wage Act

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Washington, January 16, 2019 | Jonathan Uriarte (202-225-4035) | comments

Thank you very much, Congressman Pocan. 

I want to thank Chairman Scott for pulling together this coalition of people who believe working families deserve a raise. I’m proud to stand here alongside my colleagues in support of the Raise the Wage Act.  Together, we represent the broad range of views that exist within the Democratic Caucus.

In the greatest country on earth, 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.

I believe that increasing the federal minimum wage is the right thing to do for American workers, for American businesses, and for the American economy.

My Orlando district is a powerful case in point.  It has both a relatively high cost of living, especially when it comes to housing, and the lowest median income of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country.  

Although it is slightly above the federal minimum wage, the Florida minimum wage is not a living wage. Workers in my district who earn this wage can’t fully support themselves or their family.  This is a painful fact of life for too many people in my state and around the country.     

At the same time, I believe that you cannot reasonably claim to be pro-worker unless you are also pro-business, for the simple reason that the vast majority of American workers are hired and retained by businesses

As someone who used to counsel start-ups when I worked in the private sector, and as the spouse of a proud small business owner, I could not support this bill if I thought it would damage businesses and, by extension, be harmful to their workers. 

To the contrary, I believe this legislation would provide a boost to business and to the broader economy.  If lower-income workers are paid a living wage, they will have more money in their pockets. Nearly every economist will tell you that when working families earn more money, they spend it in their local community—boosting sales, creating jobs, and strengthening the economy for everyone. 

Higher wages also mean there will be fewer Americans who rely on government anti-poverty programs to make ends meet.  At a time when our nation’s deficits and debt have reached troubling levels, there is no better way to bring our budget into balance than to give hard-working Americans a raise.

I believe passage of this bill would be good for my country, would help my constituents, and is consistent with my conscience— so I am proud to support it.

Thank you.  I now turn it back over to Chairman Scott.

To view a pdf file of the speech, click here

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