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 Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
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 »
WROTE LAW THAT WEAKENED OPIOID OVERSIGHT
Trump: Marino Withdrawing Nomination for Drug Czar
21 hours ago
THE LATEST
Doesn’t Express Confidence in Marino
Trump to Declare Opioid Emergency Next Week
1 days ago
THE LATEST

After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."

Source:
IN LIGHT OF 60 MINUTES REVELATIONS
Manchin Asks Trump to Drop Marino’s Nomination for Drug Czar
1 days ago
THE LATEST
WOULD OVERTURN MARINO LEGISLATION ON DRUG DISTRIBUTORS
McCaskill Will Introduce Bill in Response to “60 Minutes” Scoop
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

In the wake of Sunday's blockbuster 60 Minutes/Washington Post report on opioid regulation and enforcement, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced legislation that "would repeal a 2016 law that hampered the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioid distributors it suspects of misconduct." In a statement, McCaskill said: “Media reports indicate that this law has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities."

Source:
EVACUATION DRILL STARTS NEXT MONDAY
U.S. Military to Practice Evacuating Americans in S. Korea
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The United States military said on Monday that it would practice evacuating noncombatant Americans out of South Korea in the event of war and other emergencies, as the two allies began a joint naval exercise amid heightened tensions with North Korea. The evacuation drill, known as Courageous Channel, is scheduled from next Monday through Friday and is aimed at preparing American 'service members and their families to respond to a wide range of crisis management events such as noncombatant evacuation and natural or man-made disasters,' the United States military said in a statement."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login