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Minimum Wage Debate Comes Back To Capitol Hill

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Lawmakers will be hearing from advocates of increasing the minimum wage this week to coincide the three-year anniversary of the current minimum wage.
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Lawmakers will be hearing from advocates of increasing the minimum wage this week to coincide the three-year anniversary of the current minimum wage.

Democrats in the region are teaming up with labor unions this week in an attempt to increase the minimum wage. 

Tuesday is the three-year anniversary of the last hike in the minimum wage and advocates for another adjustment are holding rallies and other events in the region. One of the measure's supporters, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), says families in his Baltimore district are struggling in this lingering bad economy and need the extra income.  

"The gap is increasing between those who own companies and what have you and the average worker," Cummings says. "The worker is becoming poorer and working harder, so we've got to find a way to strike more of balance in fairness."

The minimum wage currently sits at $7.25 per hour. While campaigning in 2008, then senator Obama promised to raise it to $9.50, which he has yet to accomplish. 

Opponents argue, however, that many businesses would collapse if they have to pay employees more. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) disagrees.  

"So how much it's going to be is a matter of economic argument, but the idea that we re going to freeze minimum wage forever is not an acceptable public policy," Connolly says.

Eighteen states have set a higher minimum wage the federal government.

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