Friday, May 2, 2014

Senate Republicans Block minimum wage bill

The Senate voted on Wednesday against going ahead on a bill that would gradually increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, another rejection for legislation that has been a major focus of the Democrats' 2014 midterm campaign.

The final vote count was 54 to 42, with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who supports the legislation, taking the procedural step of voting against the bill so that he can reintroduce it at a later time.

In a news conference following the vote, top Democrats vowed to reintroduce the bill this year.

"Soon," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, (D-N.Y.), as he ducked into an elevator following the vote. "Sometime soon."

However, it remains unclear when --if at all -- they will reintroduce it and whether they have any path toward winning approval this year.

They needed to amass 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster of the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). But they were able to sway only one Republican -- Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) -- to vote in favor of proceeding. Even if the measure had passed in the Senate, the chances that a minimum wage increase widely opposed by the GOP could make it through the Republican-run House of Representatives this year seemed improbable.

But the bill is part of the Democrats' broader "Fair Shot for All" midterm campaign, so they are likely to continue to push the minimum wage through the fall despite the vote, banking on its popularity among voters to lift their prospects. Democrats are arguing that they are the party looking out for average Americans while Republicans are the party of special interests.

"By preventing even a vote on this bill they prevented a raise for 28 million hardworking Americans. They said no to helping millions work their way out of poverty," President Obama said during a news conference this afternoon. "They told Americans like the ones who are here today that: you're on your own."

The Democrats have also been pushing popular bills that would extend emergency unemployment insurance and address paycheck disparities between men and women, as well as a bipartisan manufacturing jobs bill. But on the roster of "fair shot" legislation, the minimum wage increase was a major focus of top Democrats, including Obama and members of his cabinet.

Four senators -- Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R- Miss.) -- missed the vote.

Pryor, Cochran and Wicker were in their home states dealing with the response to deadly tornadoes. Boozman was home recovering from heart surgery. All four were expected to vote against advancing the bill.

Democrats immediately expressed outrage at the bill's failure.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the vote was evidence of the "Republican disregard for the working people of our nation," while Labor Secretary Thomas Perez also quickly condemned the vote.

"The senators who voted "no" today are doing so contrary to the wishes of the American people," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday.

Had Congress debated and then passed the minimum wage bill, it would have gradually raised the $7.25 hourly minimum wage to $10.10 over the course of 30 months. It also would have provided automatic annual increases pegged to inflation.

Several public polls find most Americans support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, including 69 percent a March Bloomberg News poll and 65 percent in a February CBS News/New York Times survey. In the latter poll, sizeable majorities of independents (62 percent) and Democrats (86 percent) supported a wage hike, while 54 percent of Republicans opposed the idea.

While not among Americans' top priorities for Obama and Congress, Democrats' could benefit from an higher profile battle over the minimum wage as the midterm election approaches. Half of Americans in a March Washington Post-ABC News poll said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage; 19 percent would be less likely while the rest said it makes no difference.

Republicans insisted that raising the federal minimum wage would hurt businesses and would not be a substantive step to addressing poverty.

"If our purpose is to increase the wages of all Americans, I believe there are better ways to accomplish this goal," said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), the senior Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, in a statement after the vote. "Raising the minimum wage creates winners and losers -- it will raise the wages of some but result in job losses for many low-income workers. The true problem plaguing impoverished Americans is not low wage rates but a lack of good job opportunities."

While Democrats vow to continue fighting in favor of the minimum wage and paycheck fairness legislation, they also acknowledge that their inability to get these measures passed into law could help them in 2014.

Essentially, they could win by losing.

Much of the Democrats 2014 strategy rests on their ability to paint Republicans as out of touch with everyday Americans. By introducing a series of bills that are popular with Americans but that end up being blocked by Republicans, the Democrats hope to mobilize their voter base in advance of November elections in which the desperately need strong turnout among their base if they want to retain control of the Senate.

Scott Wilson and Scott Clement contributed to this report.


Turk_187 said...

Thank God for the Senate Republicans!!! At least one group has the common sense to realize that in the worst economic recovery from a recession, the last thing to do would be to increase operating costs for business in a market dictated by supply & demand!
If the Dem's had their way, and got this law passed within 30 months, you the consumer, would be paying near $10 for a Happy Meal for your kid the next time you rolled into the Golden Arches!!
This is just another attempt by the Obama-admin to kill the American Dollar by devaluing it into oblivion!
Even with that being said: BE WISE! ORGANIZE!

the truth said...

From In N Out burger's Own Website. A Regional Company In The West Not As Big As McDonalds Or Burger King,

our store associates, we offer:

Great Benefits
We start all our new Associates at a minimum of $10.50 an hour for one simple are important to us! And our commitment to a higher starting wage is just one of the ways in which we show it. Another way is through offering excellent part-time and full-time benefits like flexible schedules to accommodate school and other activities, paid vacations, free meals, comprehensive training, and a 401k plan.

wtf said...

yeah and a double-double Only cost $3.25. not $10

the truth said...

Here's Another Place In Detroit who pay their employees $15 an hour to cook burgers and are ready to open up another place and hoping to start businesses in the West.

This Burger Joint Is Raising Its Starting Salary To $15 Per Hour

The Huffington Post 09/10/13 09:41 AM ET

There’s at least one burger joint listening to fast food protesters’ demands.

Moo Cluck Moo, the Detroit-area fast food eatery that already gained acclaim for paying its workers $12 per hour, will raise its starting wage to $15 per hour beginning October 1, the Daily Beast reports. The move comes just a few weeks after fast food workers took to the streets demanding chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC pay them $15 per hour. Many say they’re making slightly more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Read the Daily Beast's full report here.

Critics claim the workers’ demands would put many franchisees, which operate on thin profit margins and run most fast food restaurants, out of business. But Brian Parker, one of the owners of Moo Cluck Moo begs to differ. Parker told HuffPostLive in July that he believes investing in his workers actually benefits his business because the staffers provide better customer service than their colleagues who are working for much less.

“We feel we have a good idea [and] we feel consumers will gravitate towards that good idea and support us,” he told HuffPostLive.

Moo Cluck Moo isn’t the only fast food eatery to take the high road though. John Pepper, the CEO of burrito chain Boloco, pays his workers a starting wage of $9 per hour. Still, he wrote “we can and must do more,” in an email to the Huffington Post.

Turk_187 said...

Really? You're gonna use the Huffington Post as a reference?? You just lost all credibility there.

And Detroit? Another city run into the grounds by the left-leading liberals, how soon before that entire city is bulldozed to the ground.

Nice try.

Be Wise! Organize!