Raise the wage

Feb 10, 2019

Minimum wage in the Marianas has doubled to $7.25 per hour during my term in office and people’s lives are better. But minimum wage in the rest of America has been frozen over that time. On Thursday, the Education and Labor Committee took testimony on legislation to begin raising the national wage to $15 per hour. We heard from economists pro and con, but most compelling to me was the testimony of Mr. Terrence Wise. He and his fiance both work to support their family. But they still rely on food stamps and Medicaid—paid by the taxpayers—because their employers pay so little. I am a cosponsor of the Raise the Wage bill, H.R. 582, along with 195 of my Democratic colleagues. Of course, the Marianas just finished a huge increase in the minimum wage and our small economy is much more fragile than the national economy. So, the timing and size of future increases for our islands have to be carefully managed, just as I did through legislation to time the increases that brought us to $7.25. But my goal is that those who work earn what they need to care for their families. Everyone deserves that dignity.