Ed Rabel today endorsed HR 1010, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour over three years.
Rabel is running as an independent in the Second Congressional District of West Virginia, a seat currently held by Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.
Rabel’s opponents — Democrat Nick Casey, Republican Alex Mooney and the Libertarian Davy Jones — oppose or have not endorsed the legislation.
“Instead of working for the people of the district, my opponents — Nick Casey and Alex Mooney — will be trekking off to the Greenbrier Resort on Friday to hobnob with oil, gas and coal industry executives,” Rabel said. “When they get back from the Greenbrier, I urge them to join with me and, on the upcoming Labor Day weekend, make a joint statement of support for HR 1010. Let’s give America a raise.”
If the 1968 federal minimum wage grew with inflation, it would be $10.92 today.
If it grew with worker productivity, it would be above $18 today.
“Where does the federal minimum wage stand today?” Rabel asked. “At a miserly $7.25 an hour. Some of the corporate CEOs who will be hanging with Casey and Mooney this weekend at the Greenbrier will rake in more in an hour of work than the average minimum wage worker does in a year. This is unacceptable.”
Rabel denounced Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito for refusing to sign a discharge petition that would bring the legislation to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Capito voted to raise the minimum wage in 2007 and said at the time that “nobody working full time should have to live in poverty.”
On Monday, Capito attended a secret fundraising meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at River City Ale Works in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Capito called McConnell “a proven leader.”
But McConnell has denounced efforts to raise the minimum wage.
Congressional observers say that if HR 1010 were to be put up for a vote today, it would be overwhelmingly passed into law.
A recent Hart Research poll shows that fully 81 percent of people in the South support raising the minimum wage.
Rabel said that 9.60 percent of households in his district live in poverty — with 16,000 households earning between $10,000 and $15,000 a year and 34,000 households making between $15,000 and $25,000 a year.
“America deserves a raise,” Rabel said.”Fully 20 percent of workers in my district would be helped by a raise in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. We’d eliminate 22,000 food stamp recipients and save $38 million in food stamp outlays in West Virginia alone.”