Harkin: Almost Every Democrat Will Back Minimum-Wage Increase Effort in Senate

The lead sponsor expects nearly the entire caucus to vote yes on cloture, although they may not all sign off on the final bill.

US Democratic Senator from Iowa Tom Harkin speaks about the effects of the government shutdown on health services at the US Capitol in Washington,DC on October 4, 2013 as his counterparts from Maryland Barbara Mikulski (2nd L) and from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar (L) look on. The US government shut down for the first time in 17 years Tuesday after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal by the end of the fiscal year. The US government shut down for the first time in 17 years on October 1 after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal by the end of the fiscal year.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
March 31, 2014, 11:10 a.m.

Sen­ate Demo­crats are kick­ing off their 2014 elec­tion-year agenda this week with con­sid­er­a­tion of a bill to raise the fed­er­al min­im­um wage to $10.10. And the le­gis­la­tion’s lead spon­sor says al­most every Demo­crat will vote “yes” on a cru­cial, pro­ced­ur­al vote.

If Demo­crats get the wage bill through a clo­ture vote, it needs just a simple ma­jor­ity for fi­nal pas­sage. All Demo­crats “may not be with us on the fi­nal bill,” Sen. Tom Har­kin, D-Iowa, said on a con­fer­ence call with re­port­ers Monday. “The key is to get over the fili­buster of the Re­pub­lic­ans, and I’m pretty con­fid­ent we’ll have all the Demo­crats on that.”

All ex­cept for one, Har­kin pre­dicts. It is likely that Mark Pry­or of Arkan­sas, who has come out against the pro­pos­al to raise the wage to $10.10, will not join the ranks. But even in that case, Pry­or is not op­posed to any min­im­um wage in­crease. He sup­ports an ef­fort to boost the Arkan­sas rate from $6.25 to $8.50 by 2017.

Har­kin has said the in­cre­ment­al in­crease to the $10.10 rate, to be reached by 2016, is “non­nego­ti­able.”

An­oth­er red-state Demo­crat, Mary Landrieu of Louisi­ana, has said she sup­ports a min­im­um-wage in­crease, but still has con­cerns about the changes to wages for tipped work­ers and the timeline for a wage in­crease. Har­kin’s pro­pos­al would in­crease the fed­er­al tipped wage from $2.13 to 70 per­cent of the reg­u­lar min­im­um wage. And Vir­gin­ia Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mark Warner sup­ports a min­im­um-wage in­crease but like­wise has con­cerns about the timeline for phas­ing in the boost.

Demo­crat­ic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Car­o­lina and Mark Be­gich of Alaska back Har­kin’s bill.

The bill still faces very low odds of ever be­com­ing law. Demo­crats will need at least five Re­pub­lic­ans to vote yes on clo­ture, and that doesn’t look very likely. Sen. John Thune, a mem­ber of the Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship, has said that Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans “are pretty united” against the the wage pro­pos­al. 

“If we don’t get 60 votes on the first vote we’ll con­tin­ue to come back again and again,” Har­kin pledged. “We’re not just go­ing to have one vote and walk away from it. It’s much too im­port­ant for that.”

Even if the wage in­crease makes it out of the up­per cham­ber, it faces dim pro­spects in the House, where Speak­er John Boehner has called it a job killer.

A Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice ana­lys­is found the pro­pos­al would re­duce the num­ber of work­ers in the labor force by 500,000 in 2016, which Demo­crats have pushed back against. CBO also pre­dicted the wage in­crease would lift 900,000 out of poverty.

The Sen­ate will be­gin con­sid­er­a­tion of the bill this week, but a fi­nal vote may not come un­til next week, Har­kin said.

What We're Following See More »
“CLINTON MUST BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT”
Bernie Sanders Seeks to Unite the Party
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

“MUST NEVER BE PRESIDENT”
Elizabeth Warren Goes After Donald Trump
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.

FLOTUS OFFERS STRONG ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON
Michelle Obama: “I Trust” Hillary Clinton
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.

SANDERS BACKER CONFRONTS STUBBORN SANDERS SUPPORTERS
Sarah Silverman to Bernie or Bust: “You’re Being Ridiculous”
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.

‘INEXCUSABLE REMARKS’
DNC Formally Apologizes to Bernie Sanders
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."

Source:
×