WASHINGTON — President Clinton’s quest to raise the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour from $4.25 was introduced in Congress Tuesday with a touch of drama. Retailing, however, like most of the business community, remained resistant to the plan.
“This is just another federal mandate. The market is already dictating the wage rate. This is not the remedy for the economy or the plight of the working poor,” said Steve Pfister, lobbyist for the National Retail Federation.
However, it’s not expected that business groups will have to stage much of a fight against the bill, since Congressional Republicans have vowed to block consideration.
The Senate bill was introduced by Tom Daschle (D., S.D.), Senate minority leader, and a companion bill was introduced in the House by Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D., Mo.).
At a press conference staged by Congressional Democrats, four minimum wage workers — three women and a man — talked about the difficulties of raising families on minimum wage, and at various points, the women broke into tears.