Biden: 'It's time to give America a raise'

Vice President Joe Biden urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, concluding that it's "good for business" and "helpful to the overall economy." 

"It's time to act," Biden said Saturday in the White House's weekly address. "It's time to give America a raise."

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Filling in for President Obama, who's wrapping up a trip to Europe and the Middle East, Biden said raising the minimum wage would please the majority of Americans. He explained that the the current annual wage — $14,500 a year — is "incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on." 

An increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour would allow workers to earn more than $20,000 a year and coupled with tax credits could bring many out of poverty, Biden said, who hails from a working class community in Pennsylvania. 

"The big difference between giving a raise in the minimum wage instead of a tax break to the very wealthy is the minimum wage worker will go out and spend every penny of it because they're living on the edge," Biden said. "They'll spend it in the local economy. They need to pay their electric bill, put gas in their automobile, to buy fundamental necessities. And this generates economic growth in their communities." 

Biden's remarks come on the heels of a recent White House push on the issue which has stalled in Congress. Earlier in the week, the vice president stopped by a restaurant in Washington, D.C. to commend the owner for raising its pay for tipped employees to $3.77 per hour, which is above the federal $2.13 minimum wage for such employees.

The White House also released a report detailing how the increase would help workers across the country; while administration officials have trumpetted the issue on social media. 

In the weekly address, Biden pointed out that a number of governors have upped wages in their states. And appealing to a big part of the Democratic base, he also made the case that a low minimum wage is "one of the reasons why women in America make only 77 cents on a dollar that every man makes." 

"But by raising the minimum wage, we can close that gap by 5 percent and it matters," Biden said. "It matters to a lot of hardworking families, particularly moms raising families on the minimum wage."

 

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