Iowa’s Democratic Reps. Abby Finkenauer, Cindy Axne and Dave Loebsack were among the 231 House members to vote in favor today of a bill raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.
“It has been over a decade since the minimum wage has been increased, the longest period in U.S. history,” said 2nd District Congressman Loebsack, in a statement. “And in order to maintain a basic standard of living, it is imperative that the wage is increased.”
Loebsack said a $15 minimum wage would “give 33 million workers nationwide a raise, including 131,000 people” in the 2nd District.
Finkenauer, representing the 1st District, said in a statement she was “never going to vote against increasing wages for hardworking Iowans.”
“It’s important that we take this step to gradually raise wages and that we do it responsibly, working with small businesses to ensure that this is done the right way for Iowa,” said Finkenauer. “Iowans just want to work hard, pay their bills, and have enough saved to be able to send their kids to baseball or softball practice or take their grandkids out for dinner at the end of the week.”
In her statement, Finkenauer called out Republicans in the Iowa Legislature for their 2017 vote to bar local municipalities from raising the minimum wage.
“Republicans have pushed policies that have gone after our working families,” she said.
Axne, representing the 3rd District, said in a statement she has “spoken with hardworking families across the district who are working multiple jobs and still can’t afford to pay their bills.”
“Today, I voted to gradually raise the minimum wage in order to lift Iowans out of poverty and strengthen our economy,” she said.
Republican Rep. Steve King was among the 199 House members who voted against the legislation.
The current federal minimum wage, $7.25 per hour, has not been raised since 2009. The House last voted on a minimum wage increase in 2007, which included step increases in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Though other states have approved minimum wage increases over the last decade, Iowa remains at $7.25.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today in a tweet the Republican-controlled Senate would not take up the legislation.
By Elizabeth Meyer
Finkenauer & Loebsack photos by Julie Fleming