Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007

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History of the federal minimum wage in real and nominal dollars.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007[1] is a US Act of Congress that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour. It was signed into law on May 25, 2007 as part of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. The act raises the federal minimum wage in 3 increments: to $5.85 per hour 60 days after enactment (2007-07-24), to $6.55 per hour 12 months after that (2008-07-24), and finally to $7.25 per hour 12 months after that (2009-07-24). In addition, the act provides for the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa to make the transition to the federal minimum wage on alternate timetables.

As of 2008, 13 states already had minimum wage rates at or above $7.25 per hour. These states were therefore unaffected by the increase.

Legislative history[edit]

The act was a component of the new Democratic majority's 100-Hour Plan in the United States House of Representatives. It was introduced into the House on January 5, 2007, by George Miller (D-CA) and it was passed by the House on January 10. All 233 House Democrats voted "Aye," and 82 Republicans joined them. 116 Republican representatives voted "No," and 4 representatives did not vote. President Bush advised that the bill should include tax cuts for small businesses that could be harmed by the wage increase, and on January 24, 2007, a cloture motion in the Senate failed as 43 Republican Senators (all but 5) rejected the bill without the tax cuts, opposing all 47 Democrats who were present for the vote. Once tax cuts were added to the bill, the Senate passed the amended bill 94-3 (3 Republicans opposed and 1 did not vote; 2 Democrats did not vote) on February 1, 2007.

The act initially did not amend the Fair Labor Standards Act in regards to American Samoa—its minimum wage would have continued to be set by a committee appointed by the U.S. Department of Labor until changes were made to the act.[2][3] After accusations by Republican lawmakers that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was unethical because Del Monte (parent company of StarKist Tuna which owns one of the two tuna canneries in Samoa) is based in her district, she instructed a House committee to have Samoa be included. Samoa's representative Eni Faleomavaega noted that the territory has not been subject to the mainland minimum wage and said, "...the global tuna industry is so competitive that it is no longer possible for the federal government to demand mainland minimum wage rates for American Samoa without causing the collapse of our economy...".[4]

Final passage[edit]

The minimum wage was passed by the House and the Senate on May 24, 2007 as part of HR 2206, the supplemental aid to the Iraq War. As part of the deal, $257 million worth of tax breaks were given to small business over a 10-year period to offset the wage increase.[5] The bill was thus ultimately enacted as a rider to the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. President George W. Bush signed the bill on the next day.[6]

Proposed amendments[edit]

Omissions[edit]

The minimum wage increase did not change the tip credit for tipped employees. Originally, it was automatically increased by being pegged to a percentage of the regular minimum wage. However, that changed during the 1990s. The federal tip credit, therefore, remains at $2.13. However, as even tipped employees are subject to the higher of State or Federal wage by law tipped staff effectively benefit from the minimum wage increase just the same.[8][9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]