Oops That blows one Democratic Party talking point. According to a report in the Hill, Harry Reid has delayed any Senate action raising the minimum wage. The reason?
Democratic resistance in the wake of a Congressional Budget Office
report released last week estimating that hiking the minimum wage to
$10.10 an hour could cost the equivalent of 500,000 jobs by late 2016.
And we are not talking about not being able to overcome a filibuster, the bill wouln’t even get a majority. Of the 55 senators who caucus with the Democrats, only 32 have signed on
as official co-sponsors of Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) bill, to increase the minimum wage.
One of the major talking points in the upcoming mid-term elections is the Republicans hate the poor because they wont support the minimum wage increase, but now it seems the Democrats have joined the “hate” club.
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Throughout this year, President Obama has called on Congress to “give America a raise.” But there is Democratic infighting over how much the raise should be.
Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.), the chamber’s most vulnerable incumbent, has said he does not support the legislation. He does, however, back a pending plan in his home state to increase the minimum wage to $8.50.
Other Democrats up for reelection who have not co-sponsored the Harkin measure include Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).
Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who is not up for reelection, has said he prefers raising the minimum wage to a level lower than $10.10.
Based on the number of holdouts, there is a chance the bill could fall short of a simple majority if the vote were held today. Such an outcome would sap the movement of significant momentum.
The good news for Reid and the White House is that a couple of red-state Democrats, Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), have officially embraced the $10.10 figure. Begich is seeking a second term this fall.
There could be more support for a $9-per-hour minimum wage, which is what Obama initially proposed. Liberals in Congress, most notably Harkin and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), balked at Obama’s plan, and the White House subsequently backed down. Harkin is chairman of the Senate Health, Education and Labor and Pensions Committee.
At this point Majority Leader Reid is saying he will not compromise and allow a vote with a lower minimum than the $10.10 on the table. And of course it’s all the GOP’s fault:
“The obstruction continues and it slows things down,” he said. “We’ve also been hampered by trying to get an extension of unemployment benefits. The slowdown has been a result of continued obstruction.”
Reid announced after the State of the Union address that the Senate would take up the legislation on March 6. Now it is scheduled to come up after the March recess, which spans from March 14 to 24.
Here’s the real story, the closer the vote gets to election day the Democratic party support it will have–especially from the red state Democrats, thanks to the CBO report.
The Democrats may have to find something else to blame on the GOP.