WASHINGTON, D.C. – Elizabeth MacDonough, the current Senate Parliamentarian ruled today that the Raise the Wage Act would not be included in the current American Rescue Plan. Her decision now puts a temporary halt to the Democrats plan to raise the wage. During a recent townhall, Senator Bernie Sanders I-VT, indicated that this fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour is not over. It’s disappointing for someone that does not have a vote to make that decision, but we will not give up. There are other ways to do this.
There are other economic solutions to focus on beside raising the wage that may make wages more sustainable. Guaranteed Income and Universal Livable Wage would eliminate the argument that jobs and businesses would be lost. It now becomes a matter of the will of the people instead of the skill of the politician.
Background: In 12 years, the cost of most necessities like housing, transportation and medical care, have increased, and in some cases, astronomically increased. But this the longest period of time the Federal minimum wage has remained stagnant since it was created. While the minimum wage is not the cause of homelessness, it does contribute to it. In the United States, there is not one county where you can afford a two-bedroom apartment working 40 hours per week earning minimum wage.
There are success stories with cities that have raised their own wages to $15 per hour. Millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty, while millions are still there. In the most expensive cities in the nation, $15 per hour keep Americans in poverty. We are exploring things like guaranteed incomes and wages indexed to the local cost of housing. There is a deep income divide that must be addressed. Stay tuned, game on.
By Kelvin Lassiter
Fighting for justice and equality in housing and economics has been going on for quite some time. The National Coalition for the Homeless was formed in the early 1980’s after advocates had already started opening emergency shelters and food programs because of disastrous cuts made to affordable housing and health care through the 1970’s. Activism in the 1980’s led to the Homeless Assistance Act being passed, now known as the McKinney-Vento or HEARTH Act, which has provided the bulk of Federal homeless assistance dollars.
But what about truly ending homelessness? On July 25, 2003, the key tenets of the Bring America Home Act were introduced to the nation. This plan, created through a national campaign, proposed a four-pronged approach to addressing the root causes of homelessness:
HOUSING JUSTICE Recognizing housing as a basic human right, increasing investment in federal affordable housing programs
HEALTH CARE Calling for single-payer or universal health coverage for all residents of the country
ECONOMIC JUSTICE Working towards living wages and benefits, providing labor supports for un- or under-employed workers
CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS Ensuring that poor and unhoused persons are free from added criminalization based on their housing or economic status, providing a path to housing and work for those who are formerly incarcerated
Immediately lift over 30 million people out of poverty
Move people closer to being able to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent
Finally bring the minimum wage to the level it would be factoring in the previous increases since the Fair Labor Standards Act became law in 1938
We encourage you to join us in supporting the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, encouraging your federal elected officials to support strong wage growth for working people. Our advocacy is only strengthened when the citizens of this nation play a part and lawmakers act on their constituent responses.