House Democrats, restaurant owners backing minimum wage increases

They announced the start of the Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment (RAISE), an alternative restaurant association of nearly 100 business owners from around the nation who say they are advocating the needs of owners and employers instead of larger interests. 

"Business success depends on a skilled and a satisfied workforce, and paying a sustainable wage to employees is good for business by helping to increase employee productivity and reliability," Miller said. 

President Obama included a minimum wage increase to $9 an hour in his fiscal 2014 budget released last week. A similar Senate bill is being sponsored by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa.). 

Despite growing support, the bill is a heavy lift with opponents arguing that higher hourly benchmarks makes it more difficult for businesses to hire younger and lower-skilled workers, where there already is a high level of unemployment. Also, some economists that an increase would only affect a small percentage of the nation's workers and would be considered by some businesses as an additional regulation. 

Miller's bill would increase the federal minimum wage in three steps, from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. The minimum wage would be indexed to inflation each year after that. 

“I’m proud to stand with responsible restaurant owners determined to change the conversation in Washington and across the country with the help of RAISE, because change really can happen when people of good faith and intentions come together to speak with one voice,” Miller said.