Senator Tom Harkin says the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 has gained steam in Washington.
“Yes, it does have a chance. I think it will have broad popular support,” said Harkin.
Now he’s looking for support from Iowans.
According to Harkin, the bill would give 340,000 Iowans a raise.
“A grocery store owner pays his employees over $10 per hour because it’s the right thing to do and hasn’t lost his business,” said Sue Dinsdale of the Iowa Citizen Action Network.
At a community meeting, Harkin shared his plans which include raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.
Wages would increase 95 cents each year until 2016.
“When you raise the minimum wage, folks don’t go to the Cayman Islands or travel abroad. They spend their money in my neighborhood,” Senator Harkin told Channel 13 News.
The bill would be welcomed news for James Uhl, a disabled vet working part time hours for minimum wage.
“That would just help with the food costs, the medical costs, and prescription costs. Those are what really get us,” said Uhl.
Not everyone is on board.
In a statement to Channel 13 News, Senator Chuck Grassley said “I’ve always considered minimum wage increase proposals in the past, but even democratic leadership in the senate has recognized we need to be focused on new job creation before adding cost burdens on small businesses.”
Small business owners like Isa O’Hara who owns Green Grounds Café say they can’t afford to pay their employees more.
“It’s going to really impact my ability to hire additional people,” said O’Hara.
If the bill passes, she won’t have a choice.