Senate Democrats Push Minimum-Wage Fight to March

The delay on one of President Obama’s top priorities comes on the heels of a mixed CBO report and a slowdown in the Senate.

People hold up signs protesting the low wages for workers at fast food restaurants on August 29, 2013 in New York City. Low-wage workers at businesses like McDonald's and Macy's are fighting for a living wage of $15 an hour in pay, which is more than double the current national minimum wage of $7.25.  
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
Feb. 25, 2014, 12:32 p.m.

Demo­crats are delay­ing a bill to raise the fed­er­al min­im­um wage un­til at least late March. The le­gis­la­tion, which rep­res­ents a key pri­or­ity for both Pres­id­ent Obama and con­gres­sion­al Demo­crats, will not come to floor un­til after the Sen­ate re­turns from its next re­cess, Sen. Tom Har­kin, D-Iowa, said Tues­day.

A Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic aide con­firmed that the is­sue has been pushed un­til at least March 24, when the Sen­ate re­turns from its next break.

The news comes just a week after the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice re­leased a re­port show­ing that rais­ing the fed­er­al min­im­um wage to $10.10 per hour, as Demo­crats are push­ing, would cost the na­tion 500,000 jobs. The re­port also showed, however, that 900,000 in­di­vidu­als would be brought out of poverty and 16.5 mil­lion would re­ceive a wage in­crease.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id al­luded to the delay in his weekly press brief­ing on Tues­day, blam­ing Re­pub­lic­an ob­struc­tion over un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance, an­oth­er key Demo­crat­ic pri­or­ity, for push­ing the is­sue back to March. “The ob­struc­tion con­tin­ues, and it slows things down,” Re­id said.

The ma­jor­ity lead­er also stood his ground on the $10.10 fig­ure, say­ing he would not com­prom­ise with Re­pub­lic­ans on a lower in­crease. The same CBO re­port showed that a $9 min­im­um wage would have sub­stan­tially less of an im­pact on jobs (with just 100,000 jobs lost), but that just 7.6 mil­lion work­ers would see a wage in­crease — half of those af­fected by the $10.10 op­tion.

House Demo­crats, mean­while, are not sat­is­fied with wait­ing. Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi will an­nounce to­mor­row that her con­fer­ence will push a dis­charge pe­ti­tion to force a vote on the is­sue “as soon as pos­sible,” ac­cord­ing to an aide, who con­firmed that House Demo­crat­ic lead­er­ship will move for­ward on the bill re­gard­less of what their Sen­ate coun­ter­parts have planned.

The dis­charge pe­ti­tion, which would re­quire 218 sig­na­tures, would al­low the meas­ure to by­pass the com­mit­tee pro­cess and head dir­ectly to the floor. The pe­ti­tion would need 19 Re­pub­lic­an sig­na­tures, no easy feat, giv­en GOP op­pos­i­tion on the is­sue, par­tic­u­larly in the wake of last week’s CBO re­port. Only sev­en dis­charge pe­ti­tions have ac­crued suf­fi­cient sig­na­tures to get to the floor in the past 30 years, al­though Pelosi’s of­fice notes that an­oth­er 12 were al­lowed to move for­ward be­fore all 218 mem­bers signed on.

Still, it’s clear that Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship will present a sig­ni­fic­ant road­b­lock on the is­sue. House Speak­er John Boehner’s spokes­man Brendan Buck seemed to dis­miss the is­sue last week in re­spond­ing to the CBO re­port. “With un­em­ploy­ment Amer­ic­ans’ top con­cern, our fo­cus should be cre­at­ing — not des­troy­ing — jobs for those who need them most,” Buck said.

What We're Following See More »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
2 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
4 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×