Top 10 National Policy Issues


The federal minimum wage is regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The current federal minimum wage for nonexempt employees, put into effect on July 24, 2009, is $7.25 per hour.1  Many states also have minimum wage laws.  In these cases, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.1 

14 states raised their minimum wages early in 2016, partially in response to nation-wide protests in 2014 and 2015.2  Arguments in favor of increasing the federal minimum wage include the current standard has not risen in pace with inflation, making it increasingly difficult for workers to survive economically, and raising the minimum wage would provide a boost to the economy as a result of minimum wage earners spending more money.  Many pro-increase advocates, particularly from service and food unions, have demanded the minimum wage be increased to $15 per hour.  Those against mandated increases argue that businesses will not be able to maintain their current workforce, leading to forced layoffs and greater unemployment, especially in economically depressed areas.  Business owners would additionally have to pass the cost of higher wages on to the consumers, which could result in losses of sales and profit.


1Department of Labor - Minimum Wage
214 States Just Raised Minimum Wage

Congressional Record – House
April 29, 2016
Minimum Wage

Congressional Record – House
April 28, 2016
Minimum Wage

Congressional Record – House
April 28, 2016
Raise the Wage Act


H.R.2 - Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007
Sponsor:  Rep. Miller, George [D-CA-7]
Introduced:  01/05/2007
Committees:  House - Education and Labor
Latest Action:  02/01/2007 Passed Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 94 - 3. Record Vote Number: 42. (text: CR S1500-1511)  (All Actions)

Summary:  (Sec. 101) Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage to: (1) $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment of this Act; (2) $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and (3) $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

(Sec. 102) Applies federal minimum wage requirements to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Increases the minimum wage in the Commonwealth: (1) to $3.55 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment of this Act; and (2) by $0.50 an hour (or such lesser amount necessary to equal the federal minimum wage), beginning six months after enactment of this Act and every six months thereafter until such minimum wage equals the federal minimum wage.


S.347 - Minimum Wage Act of 2007
Sponsor:  Sen. Voinovich, George V. [R-OH]
Introduced:  01/22/2007
Committees
:  Senate - Finance
Latest Action:  01/22/2007 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

Summary:  Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage to: (1) $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment of this Act; (2) $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and (3) $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) make permanent accelerated cost recovery provisions for qualified leasehold improvement and restaurant property; (2) permit certain small businesses with gross receipts of not more than $10 million to use cash accounting methods and be exempt from the requirement of using inventories; (3) allow employers the work opportunity tax credit for hiring certain restaurant workers between the ages of 16 and 20; (4) set forth a definition and rules for evaluating the economic substance of financial transactions with tax consequences (economic substance doctrine); (5) impose an enhanced penalty for understatements of tax liability due to transactions lacking economic substance; (6) apply inverted corporation tax rules to certain transactions occurring after March 20, 2002; and (7) eliminate the requirement for a pre-levy collection due process hearing for taxpayers with employment tax liabilities.


H.R.2429 - Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005
Sponsor:  Rep. Miller, George [D-CA-7]
Introduced:  05/18/2005
Committees:  House - Education and the Workforce
Latest Action:  09/27/2006 Sponsor introductory remarks on measure. (CR H7501)  (All Actions)

Summary:  Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage to: (1) $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment of this Act; (2) $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and (3) $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

Makes federal minimum wage requirements applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Sets forth a transition period during which a specified minimum wage there shall be gradually increased to equal the federal minimum wage.


Issue Topic

Minimum Wage

Polling question

Should the federal minimum wage be increased to $12 per hour or higher?

Yes, Strongly Agree
Yes, Agree
Neutral / No opinion
No, Disagree
No, Strongly Disagree

				

President Donald Trump has in the past expressed he would keep the minimum wage "pretty much where it is right now," because hiking it would hurt America's competitiveness globally.1  However, more recent comments by President Trump indicate that he would like to see an increase in minimum wage, but opposed federal mandates to do so.  During a May 2016 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Trump stated, "I have seen what's going on, and I don't know how people make it on $7.25.  With that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude, but I'd rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide."2


1Donald Trump: Keep the Minimum Wage ‘Pretty Much Where It is Now’

2Trump, who once opposed minimum-wage hike, says he would ‘like to see an increase


Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Ratified on December 15, 1791.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”


29 U.S.C. § 206 : US Code - Section 206: Minimum Wage

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Overview:  The FLSA, which prescribes standards for the basic minimum wage and overtime pay, affects most private and public employment.  It requires employers to pay covered employees who are not otherwise exempt at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay of one-and-one-half-times the regular pay.  For nonagricultural operations, it restricts the hours that children under age 16 can work and forbids the employment of children under age 18 in certain jobs deemed too dangerous.  For agricultural operations, it prohibits the employment of children under age 16 during school hours and in certain jobs deemed too dangerous.  The Act is administered by the Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of labor.

National results

Total Middle School and High School Respondents: 10

Total Voting Age Respondents: 25

Issue Poll Summary:

Political followings

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