The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Chief Justice John Roberts

The House Select Committee hearings are swaying political independents and centrists to reject the power-grabbing tactics used by Donald Trump and his Republican enablers to overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to several polls and surveys of battleground state voters released on Thursday, June 30.

“Vast majorities of the American people are paying attention, and they are deeply concerned,” said Leslie Dach, co-chair of Defend Democracy Project, an advocacy group dedicated to the principle that voters determine the outcome of elections. “They believe that a crime has been committed. They want accountability in the courts and at the ballot box. And they hold not just President Trump responsible, but they hold his allies and Republicans responsible for what happened.”

Keep reading... Show less

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}