Pelosi Remarks at Introduction of the Raise the Wage Act

Jan 16, 2019
Press Release

Contact: Speaker’s Press Office, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor Bobby Scott and other congressional leaders to unveil the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and give roughly 40 million Americans a raise.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
 
Speaker Pelosi. Good afternoon, everyone.  For The People, that was our theme in the election and here we are gathered in the Rayburn Room for the people. 

Democrats from both sides of the Capitol coming together to recognize and correct the situation – the financial security concerns of America’s working families. 

We have a great array of presenters today.  Many of our colleagues have joined us in unity to raise the minimum wage. 

I just want to acknowledge two of our VIPs, our very important people, Tiffany Lowe and Howard Hanna who will be presenting today.  Tiffany Lowe and Howard Hanna.

[Applause] 

Let us salute Bobby Scott, the Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee.  Reps. Mark Pocan, Stephanie Murphy and Donald Norcross for their leadership on the bill on the House side.  We’re honored to be joined by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Patty Murray from the Senate side. Welcome!  Welcome back to you. 

And we will be hearing from other guests here today, including the Democratic Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer.  We’re blessed also to be – we’ll also be hearing from our Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer. Thank you, Steny. 

[Applause] 

In the course of the proceedings, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia is here from Texas.  Also from Texas, Sheila Jackson Lee. I just saw with the eyes in the back of my head – they say that about moms.  We have Nanette Barragan from California, Suzanne Bonamici from Oregon, Dwight Evans from Pennsylvania and others will be joining us that I have not already acknowledged. 

Let me just tell you this, when we won the House in 2006, in 2007 we came together in the first 100 hours.  The first Six for ‘06 priorities for us was to raise the minimum wage.  It hadn’t been raised in like 11 years and we did it right there in the first 100 hours of the new Congress. 

As soon as it was signed by President Bush, when we went out to celebrate our victory on the lawn of the Capitol and the rest – Senator Kennedy was with us and he was a champion on this issue.  And when we all finished our remarks he said, ‘You know what we have to do now? ’ We said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘Raise the minimum wage.’

[Laughter] 

Again. We just did. 

It’s so very important, as well all know, the middle class is the backbone of our middle class in our country.  And the middle class and those who aspire to it, those we are here to work for. And that middle class is essential to the strength of our democracy. 

So I thank all who are here for their patriotic work that they are doing to strengthen our democracy as they strengthen the financial stability of America’s working families. 

And with that, I am pleased to yield to the gentleman who is the Chair of the Education and Labor Committee, Bobby Scott. 

***

Speaker Pelosi. I’ll yield back to you to introduce our guest. Let’s hear it for our Democratic Leader, Mr. Hoyer.

[Applause]

Unfortunately, I am being called away but I wanted to join you in acknowledging again, as I did earlier, Tiffany and again our other special guest whom he will introduce next, Howard Hanna. 

But I also want to acknowledge the President of SEIU, Mary Kay Henry, who’s here with us. 

[Applause] 

And acknowledge the SEIU and the Fight for 15, Kyle Tanner.

[Applause]

I just want to say this one thing, and Steny and all of our speakers have referenced it, do you know that by today, many of the CEOs of the companies that were fighting the minimum wage increase, they have earned as much in the couple of weeks in January as they will pay these employees for the whole year.  That is not justice.  That isn’t fair.  That isn’t right. 

And we don’t begrudge anyone their success or their income.  But we do begrudge the exploitation of the workers to that extent. 

So this is about, not only, money – the $15 – but the values that our country is about.

So thank you.  Thank you Mary Kay, thank you Kyle, thank you all.  Thank you for all of this. 

And with that, I yield back to this distinguished House Democratic Leader – which means he’s in charge of putting the bills on the floor – Mr. Hoyer. 

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