Cantwell Calls for Raising Federal Minimum Wage, Cites Impact to Women and Families

Women comprise 2/3 of minimum wage earners; Cantwell-backed bill would mean raise for 15 million women

Senator: ‘We are their voice’

WASHINGTON, DC  –  Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined 10 Senate Democratic women to highlight how Congress can improve the lives of working women and men by increasing the federal minimum wage. The group included Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Cantwell is a cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour in three steps. The legislation would mean a pay raise for 15 million working women in the U.S., and higher wages for the parents of 21 million children.

“We’re here today because the statistics are clear: Nearly two-thirds of those who earn the minimum wage are women,” Cantwell said. “We are their voice and we are trying to be as loud and clear as we can that we need to raise the minimum wage.”

“Washington has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $9.32, and we were the first state to index that to inflation,” Cantwell continued. “Some people have said: ‘Well, hasn’t that hurt your economy?’ No, just the opposite – our state has the 4th-fastest growing economy in the country by GDP. So the notion that the minimum wage would somehow hold down your economy certainly has not been the issue in our state.”

Ten other states have followed Washington state’s lead in indexing their minimum wage to inflation.

“I say this to my colleagues: If you don’t act, the people of this country will,” Cantwell said. “They are in Washington and they will throughout the country. Let’s do it now.”

See video of Cantwell’s remarks and a photo from the event.