WASHINGTON - Democrats in
the House and Senate filed legislation that would jack up the federal starting
wage to $10.10 an hour €" significantly higher than $9 an hour proposed by
President Obama in his State of the Union address, the San Francisco Chronicle
"Look, it's become clear
that corporations paying the minimum wage can now afford to pay more. It's not
more complicated than that," said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who co-authored
the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 along with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
Their bill would increase
the federal starting wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour in
increments, plus tie future increase to the cost of living. The guaranteed
minimum wage for tipped employees (primarily restaurant workers) would rise
from $2.13 per hour to 70% of the standard minimum wage, the first time that
amount has increased in two decades.
Democrats point out that a
majority of Americans are for raising the federal minimum wage. A USA Today/Pew
Research Center poll found that 71% of Americans are behind raising the federal
Already, 19 states plus Washington, D.C., have
state minimum wages above $7.25. The last federal minimum wage raise came in
2007 under President Bush. This year, 10 states
saw their minimum wages go up: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana,
Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.