Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Senate Democrats Prepare To Bring Doomed Minimum Wage Bill To The Floor

Senate Democrats Prepare To Bring Doomed Minimum Wage Bill To The Floor

Despite firm GOP opposition, the Senate is expected to vote on Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) Fair Minimum Wage Act bill on Wednesday.

While the vote will bring greater attention to an issue that Democrats hope to highlight ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, the bill appears to have little hope of passing. Democrats concede that the legislation will not gain the 60 votes it needs to overcome Republican obstruction and reach the House, but they say that a vote is the first step in eventually passing a bill that raises the current $7.25-per-hour federal minimum wage to $10.10.

“We’re going to keep bringing it back,” Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) vowed on Tuesday.

Echoing Schumer, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) promised that if the bill “fails on Wednesday, it’s coming back.”

“We will bring it back. We will not surrender,” Blumenthal asserted, as reported by Bloomberg News.

Unfortunately for Blumenthal and Schumer, as well as other supporters of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, several other members of their own party have voiced concerns about the bill.

Among Senate Democrats who have hesitated to throw their support behind the wage hike — a list that includes Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) — Arkansas senator Mark Pryor is the only one who will definitely not be voting for the measure.

According to an aide, Pryor will miss Wednesday’s vote because he wants to remain in Arkansas to offer assistance in the aftermath of the tornadoes that ripped through the state this weekend. But Pryor — whose re-election prospects appear vulnerable as he goes up against House conservative Tom Cotton — had already said that he opposes Harkin’s bill, because it proposed too great a hike.

Like Pryor, Senate and House Republicans have explicitly said they would not support Harkin’s bill — or any legislation that proposes a wage hike to $10.10. According to the GOP, a wage hike would negatively impact small businesses and ultimately result in the loss of “millions of jobs,” as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put it.

Economists tend to disagree with conservative concerns over the potential negative impacts of raising the minimum wage — 602 economists have signed an open letter calling on President Obama and congressional leaders to raise the federal wage, citing research to conclude that “increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.”

Raising the wage should be “common sense,” as President Obama put it in March, but for now it can serve as another example of good policy lost to GOP obstruction. Wednesday’s vote will be less about good policy — and more about good politics.

Photo: Pbarcas via Flickr

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    This will make a great talking point for Democrats if the bill does fail. They can then point out how the Republican Party is opposed to supporting something that will bring people closer to a living wage! So it’s a lose-lose for Republicans.
    If they support it, they will face Tea Party challenges in primaries or recalls in states uncivilized enough to still have that on the books.
    If they oppose it, they will face anger from the senior citizens who are still making $7.25/hour at MickeyD’s because their pension fund got robbed when the Koch Brothers, or Bain Capital bought out the company they worked for all their lives.

    • Lola Johnson

      From your lips to the voters’ ears.

    • paulyz

      Then why are Democrats running for re-election opposing raising the minimum wage? Senior Citizens are being hurt MUCH more from the policies of Obama & the Democrat Party such as tax increases, high gasoline for 6 straight years, a bad economy for 6 straight years, losing their jobs & health care then being forced to pay more for less under Obamacare, and also, the ruination of Medicare from Obama taking $716 BILLION from it, plus another $500 BILLION in new taxes, for Obamacare, & it STILL is rising in costs!

      Also, what is being done by the Democrats to solve the insolvency of S.S. & Medicare as they are heading to bankruptcy years earlier than even before?

      • Grannysmovin

        You voted for your own Post?

        • ralphkr

          He has no choice but to vote for himself or he would not have any ^ votes.

        • BillP

          He always votes for himself, it’s the only up vote that he ever gets. You will never get a response from him, he just writes his usual uninformed bs then disappears.

        • paulyz

          Of course, you low info people never face the truth!

      • latebloomingrandma

        You continue to make no sense. Your sentence starts out with seniors—-who did not get tax increases, most did not lose jobs if they are retired, and did not lose health care! The $716 billion from Medicare is a reduction over 10 years of Medicare growth, mainly for advantage plans, but you refuse to acknowledge this. While the Republicans harp on this, it’s the exact same amount Paul Ryan uses in his budget to reduce Medicare, a plan touted by fiscal “conservatives.”

        • paulyz

          Seniors and older Americans. Nobody explained what Obama & the Democrats are doing to protect S.S. & Medicare for us. And nobody can explain why it was OK for Obama & the Democrats to steal $716 BILLION from Medicare, when it is already going bust. By the time you realize the truth, we will all be in serious trouble.

      • Dominick Vila

        Democrats are not opposing raising the minimum wage, our proposal is to raise it to ensure all hard working Americans earn livable wages. President Obama lowered taxes for small businesses, and gave us a temporary FICA tax reduction as part of his highly successful economic stimulus strategy. The record high gas price was reached in the Summer of 2008, when Republicans controlled the White House. Yes, gas prices are relatively high by U.S. standards – they are low compared to other industrialized nations. The “high” gas prices stimulated domestic investment in oil exploration and contributed to a significant reduction in our dependence on foreign oil. Our economy has recovered, our companies are posting record profits, unemployment is steadily going down, and the DOW Index is 10,000 points higher than what President Obama inherited in January 2009 (6,500 points).
        President Obama proposed raising the Social Security contribution cap (currently at $106,000) to ensure SS remains solvent for generations to come. The GOP rejected his proposal, the same way they rejected investment in infrastructure, the Veterans Jobs Act, and every proposal submitted by the Administration to strengthen the economy and create jobs. As for MEDICARE, perhaps you should direct your question to leaders of your own party. Do you remember who passed and signed the MEDICARE Part D reform, one of the largest re-distributions of public funds to the private sector?

    • jointerjohn

      The test here will be how many sell-out democrats will run and hide from this to avoid the wrath of their business contributors. The next thing to nail those opposing the increase is numbers on just how many persons/households will be lifted from subsidized housing and SNAP cards by the increase in earnings. The right loves to pretend that we have too many totally lazy people lying around collecting federal benefits, and they get uncomfortable when it is accurately pointed out how many go to work every day for substandard wages. They like to paint the democrat party as the party of welfare, here is a chance to be the party of work over welfare. They also like to belittle minimum wage workers by lying and saying those are only entry level jobs for people with no skills, a sort of “on the job training program.” Point out every day how totally wrong they are, how many people work for minimum wage in important, valuable positions. A good example is the tens of thousands of Certified Nursing Assistants.

  • Gene Simmon

    The government should not be involved in demanding what employers should pay their employees, period. PERIOD. Why? It is too involved in things already that are now messed up because if it’s involvement. Now, what will work is a demand from the people. But, for this to work ‘the people’ must be willing to sacrifice. When people demand the government to do it there is no sacrifice.

    • latebloomingrandma

      You need to do some historical reading, especially the times before we had labor laws. Due to the failures of human nature (religious people call this sin), unfettered capitalism has demonstrated exploitation of the rich (owners or bosses) over the poor. WE are starting to see that again, due to the wide disparities in income.
      While labor may have overreached in the past, a sledgehammer has been taken to it. It’s time for the pendulum to start swinging to the left again. It’s a constant balancing act. Going to and staying on the fringes of right or left is not serving the common good.

      • Gene Roberts

        You present some very interesting information. I’m certainly not going to rebuke what you said. I have no data for what I am going to say but, the government is partly responsible for the exploitation, federal and state. Why do I say this? Well, it is the elected that pass laws allowing for so much of it. I certainly don’t believe the federal level should be involved at all though. You know, some how it is going to take us people the willingness to do without something to sow employers that they are expected to look at their employees as people and not assets. I never did like hearing an employee referred as and asset. Assets are thing that are bought and sold.

  • Scot Chipping

    The ghost of Karl Marx must be thrilled about his resurrection by democrats in America.