WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez released the following statement after the Senate's vote on the Harkin-Reid-Merkley legislation that would have raised the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour:
"Today, a minority of U.S. senators blocked a minimum wage increase that a strong majority of the American people supports. In so doing, they have rejected a long bipartisan tradition of rewarding hard work with a fair wage.
"No one who works full time in the United States should have to raise their family in poverty. But that is exactly the situation for millions of people barely surviving on as little as $7.25 per hour. Life is a daily struggle for these workers who want nothing more than the dignity of a paycheck that can support their families. Too many of them are forced to rely on public assistance just to get by.
"Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would benefit 28 million workers. And, as I've seen in my travels across the country, many employers see higher wages as an investment that makes good business sense. Raising the federal minimum wage is the right thing to do for our workers and the smart thing to do for our economy.
"On behalf of minimum wage workers in their states, I hope that senators who opposed moving forward on this bill will reconsider their position. It's time to give America a raise — a raise our workers need, a raise they've earned, a raise they deserve."