President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C.
September 4, 2014
Dear President Obama,
After years of advocacy by citizen and labor groups, your party has finally made raising the minimum wage for tens of millions of American workers an election issue for the coming midterms. The question remains, though: will raising the minimum wage simply be that an ‘issue’ with which to slam Republicans without any legislative effort or will it actually be a top legislative priority this
If you and other party leaders are serious about raising the federal minimum wage, you will quickly move beyond rhetoric about raising wages and focus on the concrete pending legislative path to a modest minimum wage raise to $10.10 an hour over three years: namely, Rep. Tim Bishop’s discharge petition to bring raising the minimum wage to a vote. Rep. Bishop’s petition has 195 signatures already and needs only 23 more to bypass Speaker Boehner’s obstruction and force a vote on raising the minimum wage. These 23 signatures are the direct path to a longawaited raise for millions of American workers: in the words of Rep. George Miller, who sponsored the bill, “when it comes to the floor, it will pass… we just need a vote.” Passage in the House will ensure the 60 votes needed for Senate passage for by then the political and electoral heat will get the needed fencesitting Senators. And yet, since the petition’s introduction in late February, there has been little to no effort by Democratic leaders to pressure poverty and laborminded Republicans to sign. You did not even mention HR 1010 or its discharge petition in your Labor Day speech on the minimum wage.
With a [...]