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Thread: Senate nixes bid to raise minimum wage

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Angry Senate nixes bid to raise minimum wage

    Senate nixes bid to raise minimum wage

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled Senate smothered a proposed election-year increase in the minimum wage Wednesday, rejecting Democratic claims that it was past time to boost the $5.15 hourly pay floor that has been in effect for nearly a decade.

    The 52-46 vote was eight short of the 60 needed for approval and came one day after House Republican leaders made clear they do not intend to allow a vote on the issue, fearing it might pass.

    Sixty votes were required because the plan was proposed as an amendment to an unrelated defense bill.

    The Senate vote marked the ninth time since 1997 that Democrats there have proposed -- and Republicans have blocked -- a stand-alone increase in the minimum wage. The debate fell along predictable lines.

    "Americans believe that no one who works hard for a living should have to live in poverty. A job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts. He said a worker paid $5.15 an hour would earn $10,700 a year, "almost $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three."

    Republicans said a minimum wage increase would wind up hurting the low-wage workers that Democrats said they want to help.

    "For every increase you make in the minimum wage, you will cost some of them their jobs," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia.

    He described the clash as a "classic debate between two very different philosophies. One philosophy that believes in the marketplace, the competitive system ... and entrepreneurship. And secondly is the argument that says the government knows better and that topdown mandates work."

    The measure drew the support of 43 Democrats, eight Republicans and one independent. Four of those eight Republicans are seeking re-election in the fall.

    Democrats had conceded in advance that this attempt to raise the minimum wage would fare no better than their previous attempts. At the same time, they have made clear in recent days they hope to gain support in the coming midterm elections by stressing the issue. Organized labor supports the legislation, and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, said that contrary to some impressions, most minimum wage workers are adults, not teenagers, and many of them are women.

    "When the Democrats control the Senate, one of the first pieces of legislation we'll see is an increase in the minimum wage," said Kennedy.

    His proposal would have increased the minimum wage to $5.85 beginning 60 days after the legislation was enacted; to $6.55 one year later; and to $7.25 a year after that. He said inflation has eroded the value of the current $5.15 minimum wage by 20 percent.

    With the help of a few rebellious Republicans, House Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee succeeded in attaching a minimum wage increase last week to legislation providing funding for federal social programs. Fearing that the House would pass the measure with the increase intact, the GOP leadership swiftly decided to sidetrack the entire bill.

    "I am opposed to it, and I think a vast majority of our (rank and file) is opposed to it," House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday.

    Pressed by reporters, he said, "There are limits to my willingness to just throw anything out on the floor."

    While Democrats depend on organized labor to win elections, Republicans are closely aligned with business interests that oppose any increase in the federal wage floor or would like changes in the current system.

    Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, offered an alternative that proposed a minimum wage increase of $1.10 over 18 months, in two steps.

    The increase was coupled with a variety of provisions offering regulatory or tax relief to small businesses, including one to exempt enterprises with less than $1 million in annual receipts from the federal wage and hour law entirely. The current exemption level is $500,000, and a Republican document noted the amount had "lagged behind inflation."

    Additionally, Republicans proposed a system of optional "flextime" for workers, a step that Enzi said would allow employees, at their discretion, to work more than 40 hours one week in exchange for more time off the next. Unions generally oppose such initiatives, and the Republican plan drew 45 votes, with 53 in opposition.

    Nine Senate Republicans voted against both proposals.

    Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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    this is utter bullshit! people need to stop blaming illegal immigrants for low wages in this country and start blaming and not voting for the bastards in congress who wanna keep the people down! WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THEM!?! NO ONE CAN LIVE OFF OF $5.15/ HOUR ANYMORE; NO ONE! I've come to the conclusion that if you're in the Repug party then you're an evil hater of the human race and have no soul to speak of!

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Default Re: Senate nixes bid to raise minimum wage

    It's easy to place xenophobic ignorance on something like minimum wage. THere are anti-immigration people that take away these low-wage jobs from the market. HOWEVER, if there was a rise in the minimum wage, then possibly these jobs could have better wages and immigrants would'nt be working under such poverty.

    Of course the right-wing Senate does'nt want immigrants to make a good wages. They also don't want people in poverty to make a decent living for themselves or make enough money to live better. IN their minds they think it's best to keep the people poor, that way the rich can get more powerful and the middle class can get smaller and smaller.

    I agree I think most Republicans vote against things that could overall better people's lives in this country in the name of their "phliosphy".

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    Bronze Member Peach's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Re: Senate nixes bid to raise minimum wage

    Once again, Pubbies exemplify the DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA. The cost of living has far outstripped the minimum wage for years. The PubDUMBS that think a living wage would "hurt" business cannot cannot understand that workers are consumers also. Who can afford to buy much of ANYTHING at $5.15 an hour? No wonder Baby Bush is their hero; low IQ is admired by this crowd.

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    Default Re: Senate nixes bid to raise minimum wage

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland
    Republicans said a minimum wage increase would wind up hurting the low-wage workers that Democrats said they want to help.

    "For every increase you make in the minimum wage, you will cost some of them their jobs," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia.
    That might be true in some cases - some employers would likely let a few people go so their own costs don't rise. But I still don't see how keeping the minimum wage so low would be a good thing. I would LOVE to see these politicians have to live at such a wage for a minimum of a year. There is a documentary showing the guy who did the McDonald's experiment (Biggie Sized??) trying to live off minimum wage for just a month - he could barely do it and that's with him AND his girlfriend working non-stop.

    It's ludicrous and a completely win-less situation. The politicians need to pull their heads out of that dark area - they're hurting the people they claim to be trying to help. This ruling won't have any effect on immigrants getting or keeping jobs so I don't see why they would even be brought into the discussion.

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