Letters to the Editor: May 7, 2014

Con­gress must take ac­tion now to pro­tect work­ing fam­il­ies

The clock is tick­ing as Con­gress con­tin­ues to dis­play a lack of lead­er­ship in pro­tect­ing Amer­ic­ans. Last week, Con­gress failed to pass le­gis­la­tion that would raise the min­im­um wage and lift hun­dreds of thou­sands of Pennsylvani­ans out of poverty. Na­tion­wide, more than 24 mil­lion work­ers cur­rently mak­ing as little as $7.25 an hour would be­ne­fit from in­creas­ing the min­im­um wage. By rais­ing the min­im­um wage, we could add $31 bil­lion to the paychecks of fam­il­ies across the coun­try. This is money that would not only help thou­sands of fam­il­ies in our re­gion make ends meet, but would pour mil­lions of dol­lars in­to our loc­al eco­nomy, cre­at­ing new jobs and driv­ing loc­al and state tax rev­en­ue at a time when Pennsylvania is fa­cing a pro­jec­ted budget short­fall.

At the same time, the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives has wasted mul­tiple op­por­tun­it­ies to pass the Sen­ate bill that would reau­thor­ize Emer­gency Un­em­ploy­ment Com­pens­a­tion (EUC) be­ne­fits for mil­lions of un­em­ployed Amer­ic­ans. Too many of our friends and neigh­bors are still un­em­ployed as our eco­nomy con­tin­ues its slug­gish re­cov­ery. With over 90,000 Pennsylvani­ans be­ing un­em­ployed for more than six months, this ex­ten­sion would go a long way to­ward al­low­ing these oth­er­wise qual­i­fied work­ers to avoid fin­an­cial ru­in as they con­tin­ue to­ward re­join­ing the work­force.

As a state rep­res­ent­at­ive, I have worked for large parts of North­east Phil­adelphia in Har­ris­burg, mak­ing it my mis­sion to fight for these types of com­mon-sense re­forms to pro­tect the most vul­ner­able mem­bers of our com­munity. As I now run for Pennsylvania’s 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, I have con­tinu­ously stressed that these re­forms would help both res­id­ents in our dis­trict and our lar­ger eco­nomy. Ex­tend­ing un­em­ploy­ment be­ne­fits and rais­ing the min­im­um wage need to be top pri­or­it­ies for law­makers in Wash­ing­ton, and I hope to be able to work on these is­sues for North­east Phil­adelphia next year. ••

State Rep. Brendan F. Boyle 

D-170th dist.

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