The Senate Failed Workers

The Rev. Michael Livingston |

The Senate failed 28,000 Americans today. For want of a handful of votes, action to bring the Fair Minimum Wage Bill (S 460) to the floor for a vote to raise the Minimum Wage to $10.10 was defeated today.

As a result of a failed vote, millions of individuals and families will continue to make impossible decisions every month: pay the rent or mortgage or buy gas to get to work? Set aside a little savings for college or pay the electrical bill?  When will it end? 

"This is outrageous."

That's what Vice President Joe Biden said on a conference call with our progressive allies this afternoon. And he's right. It is outrageous.

I was at the White House earlier today, and beyond the President's words I sensed his great disappointment and I think anger at the lack of action to raise the minimum wage and help millions of American families. 

Voting over and over again, more than fifty times now, to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a chronic cough. Voting once to lift an enormous burden from people working full time and still being unable to support their families is beyond the ideological reach of an entire political party. Their reasoning is disingenuous and countered by a solid body of research spanning at least two decades. Raising the minimum wage does not harm job growth it stimulates the economy by putting money in the pockets of people who will spend it to feed and clothe and provide shelter for themselves and their families.

It’s the right thing to do. It is the high moral ground occupied by those who believe we are all created in the image of God. We are people of faith and we will not give up.  We will hold our elected representatives accountable for their folly.  We will pray and organize, organize and pray until justice is done and fair wages are paid to those whose work creates the wealth of our nation and yet is stolen by corporations and their congressional operatives whose humanity is profoundly compromised by price of a seat.

The work to raise the minimum wage continues. More than 350 faith leaders and 5000 people of faith signed the open letter to Congress calling for a moral minimum wage!