On Tuesday, the federal minimum wage goes up for the first time in ten years, jumping 70 cents to five dollars and 85 cents an hour. It's the first of three, 70 cent increases that will hike the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour by the summer of 2009.
The government says more than 1.5 million American workers made the old minimum wage of $5.15 an hour or less last year.
The increase is one of the few major legislative successes of the new Democratic-controlled Congress. President Bush signed the measure into law after the Democrats removed a provision calling for the withdrawal of U-S troops from Iraq.
The bill also contains nearly $5 billion worth of tax relief for small businesses to help them hire new workers. The relief will also help offset the cost of the higher wage.
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