Democrats Bypass Committee on Minimum-Wage Bill to Limit ‘Embarrassing’ GOP Amendments

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-IA, speaks during a briefing on a bipartisan proposal to expand early childhood education from birth to age 5 at the senate visitors center of the US Capitol on November 13, 2013 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Fawn Johnson
Add to Briefcase
Fawn Johnson
Jan. 7, 2014, 7:35 a.m.

A min­im­um-wage in­crease won’t have the vet­ting of a com­mit­tee vote be­fore it comes to the Sen­ate floor, likely in Feb­ru­ary, a key law­maker in the de­bate said Tues­day. The de­cision to keep a hot Demo­crat­ic cam­paign is­sue out of com­mit­tee is de­signed to lim­it the num­ber of “em­bar­rass­ing amend­ments” Re­pub­lic­ans can of­fer.

“We de­cided not to do it in com­mit­tee but to come dir­ectly to the floor,” said Sen­ate Health, Edu­ca­tion, Labor, and Pen­sions Com­mit­tee Chair­man Tom Har­kin, D-Iowa, who is spon­sor­ing le­gis­la­tion to raise the min­im­um wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour in three an­nu­al in­cre­ments. “Then they get to of­fer all kinds of em­bar­rass­ing amend­ments and stuff in com­mit­tee, and why do it twice? Do it once.”

The de­cision to by­pass de­lib­er­a­tion in com­mit­tee will do noth­ing but in­flame Re­pub­lic­ans, who were smart­ing with an­ger at Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id on Tues­day after the Sen­ate voted 60-37 to pro­ceed to fi­nal pas­sage on an un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance bill.

“It’s totally dic­tat­ori­al,” said Sen. John Mc­Cain, R-Ar­iz., who de­cried Re­id’s tac­tics in ram­ming the bill to ex­tend long-term job­less be­ne­fits down Re­pub­lic­ans’ throats without com­mit­tee con­sid­er­a­tion or amend­ments. “He won’t al­low a single amend­ment. How can we ne­go­ti­ate?”

“It’s all polit­ic­al,” said Sen. Lamar Al­ex­an­der, R-Tenn., of the un­em­ploy­ment vote. “Un­for­tu­nately, the Sen­ate is start­ing the new year they way the ended up last year” — with bills be­ing placed on the floor without ever be­ing con­sidered in com­mit­tee. “The Sen­ate has be­come a one-man show, and that man is Sen­at­or Re­id guided by the White House,” he said.

Re­pub­lic­ans are squirm­ing un­der the tough tac­tics that Demo­crats are us­ing to pres­sure them to vote for le­gis­la­tion that gives be­ne­fits to job­less or low-wage work­ers. Six Re­pub­lic­ans joined with all Sen­ate Demo­crats and in­de­pend­ents on an un­em­ploy­ment ex­ten­sion to give the cham­ber the ne­ces­sary 60 votes to com­plete the le­gis­la­tion, which would ex­tend long-term be­ne­fits un­til March 31.

“I’m not com­fort­able at all. I’m tre­mend­ously un­com­fort­able,” said Mc­Cain of his “no” vote on the un­em­ploy­ment bill. But, he ad­ded that he can’t in good con­science vote for le­gis­la­tion that he has had no say on.

Cue up the same protests for the min­im­um-wage de­bate, which will again put mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­ans in a tough po­s­i­tion. A re­cent ABC/Wash­ing­ton Post poll found that 60 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans fa­vor a min­im­um-wage in­crease. Re­pub­lic­an law­makers gen­er­ally op­pose min­im­um-wage hikes, cit­ing bur­dens on small busi­nesses and a drag on em­ploy­ment. Polit­ic­ally, however, those ar­gu­ments fall flat with the gen­er­al pub­lic.

Re­pub­lic­ans could try to min­im­ize the dam­age of op­pos­ing a min­im­um-wage in­crease by pro­pos­ing to win­now down the size of the in­crease to, say, $9 per hour in­stead of $10.10. But that would re­quire an amend­ment pro­cess, and one of their chances at of­fer­ing amend­ments — in com­mit­tee — has dis­ap­peared.

What We're Following See More »
JUST AS SENATE VOTES ITS DISAPPROVAL
Trump Backtracks on Putin's "Incredible Offer"
2 days ago
THE LATEST
ARMS CONTROL, SYRIA WERE DISCUSSED
Russians Refer to "Verbal Agreements" with Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved. 'Important verbal agreements' were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements," and cooperation in Syria.

Source:
WAS "GRUDGINGLY" CONVINCED
Trump Was Shown Proof of Russian Interference Before Inauguration
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election. The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation. Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed."

TAKE THAT, HATERS
Trump: High IQ People Loved the Putin Meeting
3 days ago
THE LATEST
"POLICY DIFFERENCES DON'T MATTER"
Comey Says to Vote Democratic This Fall
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

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