In a House floor speech Wednesday afternoon, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky called for an increase to the federal minimum wage.

A hike to hourly wages has been a popular issue for Democrats in 2014, and has been a clear contrast in the U.S. Senate race.

The congressman is co-sponsoring the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour incrementally over three years.

Yarmuth says raising wages will help struggling families and grow the economy, which have seen their pay decrease over the past four decades.

“In real value, today‚Äôs federal minimum wage is about 30 percent below the days when President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon and Cannonade won the Kentucky Derby,” he says.


Yarmuth signed a discharge petition last month to force a vote on the bill in the House.

Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow a vote on federal minimum wage bill, and have cited possible job losses from a $10.10 hike in a recent Congressional Budget Office report.