Minimum wage approaches likely Senate rejection

January poll found public supports minimum wage increase by 55 percent to 21 percent, but Republicans oppose it 39 percent to 32 percent
Associated Press
Apr 29, 2014

The push by President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage seems ready to join the parade of issues that gets buried in Congress but — the party hopes — propels voters to the polls this November.

Immigration. Renewing expired jobless benefits. Tighter curbs on guns. All of them Obama priorities. All of them attracting some Republican support. And all of them tripped up, at least for now, by GOP opposition.

And now, a bill by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, boosting today's $7.25 hourly minimum in three steps until it hits $10.10 as soon as 2016. His minimum wage bill is widely expected to join that list Wednesday, when the Senate seems poised to vote on it. Though it should win backing from nearly all of the 53 Democrats and two Democratic-leaning independents, few if any Republicans are expected to join them, leaving them shy of the needed 60 votes.

Democrats are aware of its likely fate. But they also know that according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, women and young people make up disproportionate portions of the 3.3 million people who earned $7.25 or less last year. Both groups traditionally tilt toward Democrats, who would love to lure them to the polls this fall as they fight to retain Senate control.

"It's a powerful motivator for voters in the Democratic base who are a focal point of Democratic efforts to turn out voters in the midterm elections," Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin said of the minimum wage push.

Senate Republicans have scant political incentive to support the measure.

The GOP's business allies oppose the increase, saying it drive up employers' costs. Republican lawmakers have buttressed that argument with a February study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimated the $10.10 increase would eliminate around 500,000 jobs — though it also concluded that earnings would rise for at least 16.5 million low-paid workers.

Republican voters also give GOP senators little reason to back the increase.

An Associated Press-GfK Poll in January found that while the public supports a minimum wage increase by 55 percent to 21 percent, Republicans oppose it by 39 percent to 32 percent. For tea party voters — who GOP senators hope will vote in large numbers this November — the gap is 43 percent against an increase and 28 percent for it.

To counter Democratic arguments that they are clueless about today's harsh economic realities, Republicans say the priority should be finding ways to create jobs with steps like reducing taxes and regulations on companies.

"You can try to wave a magic wand and artificially" increase wages, said Republican pollster David Winston. Instead, he said, the GOP is reaching out to voters "who'd like to be earning more money and really think the economy needs to be turned around."

Both sides' constituencies oppose compromising on a lower figure, including the AFL-CIO, which backs an increase, and the National Federation of Independent Business, which opposes one. That makes a bipartisan deal even less likely, at least before the elections.

That means the battle will probably produce little more than fodder for campaign advertising. Both sides' lobbying reflects the low odds of a law being enacted, with scant advertising and few signs of all-out campaigns that typify major Washington battles.

"This is largely seen as a campaign action, and not an effort to legislate" minimum wage changes, said Scott DeFife, top lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association.

The pressure for congressional action is further reduced by the states — 21 have minimum wages above $7.25. Five have enacted increases so far in 2014, and 29 others are considering boosts. By law, workers covered by both the federal and a state's minimum wage are entitled to the higher amount.

As much as Democrats hope the minimum wage vote will spur support from women and young voters, history shows there are no guarantees they will benefit.

Women account for more than 6 in 10 people earning the current minimum wage or less. And in midterm elections since the 1970s, exit polls of voters show women have tilted toward Democratic congressional candidates by an average of 7 percentage points.

But in a cautionary note to Democrats, that's not set in concrete: Women split about evenly in 2010, when Republicans took over the House.

Nearly half of people earning minimum wage or less are under age 25, even though they represent just a fifth of people working for hourly pay.

Younger voters have leaned toward Democrats by an average 7 percentage points since the 1970s. The margin has been even greater since 2004, when their preference for Democrats has been by double-digit percentage points.

Young people, however, aren't stalwart voters in midterm elections. They have averaged just 6 percent of voters in those elections, compared to the 10 percent of the overall population that 18- to 24-year-olds represent.

The Democratic bill would raise the federal minimum to $8.20 six months after enactment, $9.15 after an additional year and $10.10 a year after that. The minimum would then automatically increase annually with inflation.

It would also gradually boost the $2.13 minimum for tipped workers like waiters to 70 percent of the full minimum wage.



Yes raise min. wage and teach our young people that it's ok not to set goals and be comfortable making min. wage while the price of everything goes up and makes it hard for everybody to live. I used to be a Democrat, but these guys are STUPID if they think this will help anything. Bring our high paying jobs back from overseas to start.


Thanks for your comment. It would be interesting to know what caused you to leave the democrats.

The Big Dog's back

You were probably a Dixiecrat.

Dr. Information

Get ready for increased prices across the board. If one does not think the additional cost will not get passed on they are simply business non educated.

Increase in min wage is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. In reality these current leaders see it as more money coming in to Washington they have to spend.


The last 10 years with dum dum in office. His polocies all seem to hurt the middle class and nobody else. Affordable care act, which is not affordable taking a substantial amount of money from our taxes, and raising min. wage which will do nothing more than give the government more tax money to pi$$ away.It's like he is trying to destroy my American Pride.


note.. in the last 10 years, we have had TWO people in the highest office in the land, and that was in BOTH political parties. I'll agree with you that almost anything done today hurts the middle class in many ways. Raising minimum wage hurts us on this end more then it will via taxes. Prices will go up on good/services/products/ETC, just as the wages go up.. It's not just the current prez/administration(of which I personally don't care for) but the whole system and process. Time to wake up people. when it comes time for the whole process again, educated yourselves on the issues, and candidates. Read, read, read, and read some more on these people. Look at their histories, voting records, background, affiliations. It's scary how out there these people are on who they are, how they act, who they side with, and how they WILL act in the future. It's just people don't look into that or care, because it's easier to just not worry about it, until it's time to fill in the circle for who you want in office.


fordman... in 2008 obama stood in front of tv cameras and told us EXACTLY what he was going to do..''fundamentally transform America"... by ''spreading it around a bit''... as he told Joe the Plumber.
Millions of working people jumped for joy.... without thinking it through. Maybe some did think it through...

And when their union told them to vote for obama..... they did what they were told.

What was so wrong with the pre obama America that millions of working people voted against their best interests and raised taxes on themselves and burdened their offspring with crushing debt?

The Big Dog's back

fordman, you probably like the "good old days" of Segregation, women not voting, white Supremacy. Ahhh yes, those were the days huh?

Dr. Information

off topic comments do not deserve an answer. Do not respond.


It seems from the projected vote that only Republicans have a clue concerning economics and that Dems either know nothing or care even less (though it also seems from the last six years that that's the case)! Raising the minimum wage has historically resulted in job losses and price increases. Oooooh, but it SOUNDS so good, and young people are stupid and will vote Democrat based on economic fallacy and empty promises. Oooooh!


Sam: Your first sentence is likely the funniest thing I've ever read here. Apparently, you forgot about that "little" recession that occurred the last time your party was in power? You know, the worst economic disaster in America since the Great Depression 90 years earlier?

Republicans are good at saying no. They're good at cutting funding. They're good at taking care of the 1%. And they are stunningly BAD at fixing the economy. Every time a Dem has been in the White House over the past 30 years, the deficit has gone down. Every time a Republican has been in office, the deficit has gone up up up. It's not up for debate. We are STILL paying for cataclysmic economic mistakes made prior to 2009 made by Republicans.

Look kids: we can either raise the minimum wage, so that a fulltime worker who wants to work can make enough to pay for food and rent. OR... we can underpay them, and be forced to subsidize their existence through food stamps.

It's funny. Your last sentence is exactly what we Democrats say about GOP economic policies. The difference, of course, is that we Dems have history on our side. Trickle-down economics doesn't work. And if GOP tax breaks actually helped create jobs, we wouldn't still have a job shortage after 10+ years of historically low taxes.


What you fail to understand is with the raise of minimum wage the prices of everything will go up forcing more people onto the governments dole. That's what you want I know but rational people like to be independent.
Maybe your god should try to bring back good jobs instead of trying to pass the TPP and sell out the rest of us. Where is your God, Asia selling you out.

The Big Dog's back

So why aren't you right wingnuts mad at the rich for raising prices? If minimum wage were passed, the koch brothers and George Soros would make 39.5 billion instead of 40 billion. Poor babies.


I am not mad at the rich, They got there by not being stupid. You on the other hand keep electing bought and paid for politicians that cater to the rich. Oh look another 85 billion just went to wall street, why dont you crap on a police car and whine some more while your defending your god. YOU want the government to have the power to pick favorites. Not me.


Hey toasterfan you forgot to mention that when the economy took a dive, it was a democrat controlled congress!! Things were fine before that, just making sure you stay fair and balanced.


Fine? What a joke. You CONS can't except responsibility for any thing.

"We have to acknowledge our failures if we want to be viable as a party." Rand Paul!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


unemployment was at 4.3% stock market was booming, gas prices were a lot lower, then midterms happened and wow, defecation hit the rotating oscillator. Yeah things were fine jackhole

The Big Dog's back

But, but, but, we had a Dem Congress.

Dr. Information

Exactly and look what happened once the Dems controlled all of congress.

BOOM, it all went south. Thank a Dem, they caused most of this mess.

The Big Dog's back

Unemployment rate in March 2007
APRIL 09, 2007
In March, the number of unemployed persons (6.7 million) and the unemployment rate (4.4 percent) were essentially unchanged.

You mean this?


lol thats what i was saying moron dems took over and it all went poof.

The Big Dog's back

Dems were in control and it was 4.5.

Dr. Information

They were elected in 2007, took over after the elections in November, shortly after in, 2008, evening went bye bye,,, again, thank a Dem. They have ruined nearly everything.


It took a little bit of time for them to mess it up but they did and it happened. Remember Fannie and Freddie? “Mr. Chairman, we do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and in particular at Fannie Mae, under the outstanding leadership of Mr. Frank Raines. Everything in the 1992 act has worked just fine. In fact, the GSEs have exceeded their housing goals.” Maxine Waters (D).
Yeah one of the leading factors in the crash and we all know how the "D's" Handled it. Ostriches couldn't have did a better job. Now you expect us all to trust brain dead Democrats after this last 6 years? HA! Who do you plan to blame when the bill comes due?


Re:"Apparently, you forgot about that "little" recession that occurred the last time your party was in power? You know, the worst economic disaster in America since the Great Depression 90 years earlier? "

It seems obvious that you slept through the double digit Jimmy Carter era.
The unemployment was higher, the inflation was higher and the interest rates were much higher making purchasing homes,autos and other items more difficult to purchase ergo it would have been more difficult to get out of the great recession of the Jimmy Carter era.


Also Reagan only had the Senate in repube hands while obama had majorities in bo th houses of Congress and a supermajority in the Senate and could supposedly pass whatever he wanted... if he could get his party to agree with his policies.


Min wage is exactly that.. Minimum wage. Any job paying minimum wage is not a job to go out and support a family on. Sorry as I know that's going to hurt peoples feeling, but I don't really care. The fact is, these are not the kind of jobs to support family's on. strive for better, work harder and you will earn more, pretty simple there.

Now wait for it, the reply of, "this is the only job that (insert name) can get/or work at". That's an answer/reply that is complete nonsense. Again, work hard, strive for better and it will come your way. That doesn't mean you have to go to college because it's not for everyone and I'll side with anyone on that thought. There are a lot of non college people out there working GOOD jobs making well over 20 an hour and enjoying life, supporting themselves and others, and proud of how they did it. Raising the Min wage will only hurt, it's not going to help.. Exactly what part of a minimum wage job do you think grants the right to have you make 10-12 bucks an hour? Most, not all, but most of these are ENTRY LEVEL JOBS.

If minimum wage goes up, why cannot people making above the Minimum wage complain and politic to have their wages raised at the same amount? Only fair I believe. But wait, the Min wage fighters will go crazy! NOT FAIR, NOT FAIR.... It's nonsense..

Make a good wage, yes, I'll fight for that for ya. Yet at the same time, have pride and ownership in your job. Work hard and always strive for better and that will be noticed and rewarded. Too many people in this world are looking to get a ton for nothing, and that's the fundamental problem anymore.


Chongo apparently doesn't know that there are 3 unemployed people for every available job opening. So it's NOT nonsense that people who want to find work can't find work.

And conservatives really need to get a clue, and stop insisting that all poor people are poor because they're lazy. If you're working 70 hours a week with 2 jobs, and still don't have enough to pay the rent, laziness is not your problem. If you work a minimum wage job, and have to choose between buying food, necessary prescription medication, paying rent, or paying for childcare, laziness isn't your problem. Your problem is that you are working really hard and STILL DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO COVER YOUR BASIC EXPENSES. Your problem is that you grew up poor in a country in which half of the legislature fights to KEEP you poor, then blames you for it.

I recently read that worker productivity has gone up 80% since 1980, yet wages have only gone up 9%. Meanwhile, those in charge have cut benefits, and inflation has taken a bigger bite out of everyone's paycheck. The 1% are hurting the other 99%, yet Republicans stick up for the very people who are tightening the noose around their own necks.

People with Chongo's mindset do nothing to fix that problem, and only serve to perpetuate it. You can either support Obama's jobs bills (which Republicans won't), raise minimum wage so that we don't have to support these people via food stamps (which Republicans won't), or do nothing except complain. Ah yes, the Party of No.


So how would you employ them and what would you pay them?


It's not a left/right thing here as I could care less either way.. I was raised with a work ethic, and taught to have PRIDE in what I do on a daily basis. Todays work force on the Minimum Wage level wants the wages handed to them... WORK FOR IT.. EARN IT.. Why is it that is such a hard thing to grasp? Strive for better..

I understand what your saying about that person who works 2 jobs, 70-80 hour work weeks, and my hat goes off to them for that as i've been there myself. But you do realize that two jobs at minimum wage is equal to what today, about 16 an hour? ok.. Now if you have kids, I can understand why it's tough to make it on that wage, but you should have thought about that before you had kids. The thought of, "Can I currently afford to support children".. those things don't happen anymore.

If you on your own, and you still cannot cover your expenses, then I believe you need to do what I've had to do at points in my life. RE-EVALUATE YOUR EXPENSES....

Now lets say Minimum wage goes up to a round figure of 10 dollars flat. What do you think happens to the amount of jobs? What do you think happens to the cost of said product/service??? Guess what, It's going to go up too.. so where does that equal out at?