'No Raise for You!': Modest Minimum Wage Increase Defeated in Senate

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Common Dreams

'No Raise for You!': Modest Minimum Wage Increase Defeated in Senate

The effort to bring national low-wage to $10.10 defeated

Nationwide, progressive activists have been making a bold call for a dramatic increase to the minimum wage. In the US Senate, however, Democrats say they can't even get enough votes to pass their $10.10 minimum wage bill.

Nationwide, progressive activists have been making a bold call for a dramatic increase to the minimum wage. In the US Senate, however, Democrats say they can't even get enough votes to pass their $10.10 minimum wage bill.

Update (1:52 PM EST):

In a procedural vote that did not garner the 60 votes needed to defeat a Republican filibuster on Wednesday, the Democrats' effort to bring a bill to increase the federal minimum wage to the floor for a full debate and vote was defeated by a 54-42 to margin.

Ultimate passage of the bill would have brought the minimum wage from its current $7.25 up to $10.10 an hour.

“The truth is that the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ahead of the vote. 

Sanders noted that while "corporate profits are at an all-time high" wages for low-paid and middle class workers "are near an all-time low." Despite this, he said, he was "very disappointed, but not surprised" that Republicans were unified in their opposition to raising pay for the nation's lowest-paid workers.

The roll call (organized in alphabetical by the last name) follows, with those who voted "yea" showing support for the increase while those who voted "nay" cast their votes to defeat the measure: The roll call is organized in alphabetical by the last name:

Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Ayotte (R-NH), Nay
Baldwin (D-WI), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
Blunt (R-MO), Nay
Booker (D-NJ), Yea
Boozman (R-AR), Not Voting
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coats (R-IN), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Not Voting
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Cruz (R-TX), Nay
Donnelly (D-IN), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Fischer (R-NE), Nay
Flake (R-AZ), Nay
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Heinrich (D-NM), Yea
Heitkamp (D-ND), Yea
Heller (R-NV), Nay
Hirono (D-HI), Yea
Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Nay
Kaine (D-VA), Yea
King (I-ME), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Lee (R-UT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
Markey (D-MA), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Moran (R-KS), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murphy (D-CT), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Paul (R-KY), Nay
Portman (R-OH), Nay
Pryor (D-AR), Not Voting
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schatz (D-HI), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Scott (R-SC), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Toomey (R-PA), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Walsh (D-MT), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Warren (D-MA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Not Voting
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Earlier:

Proving once again that popular economic policies—even modest ones—that would improve the lives of millions of low-wage workers cannot possibly pass in a Congress dominated by the interests of the corporate class, reporting from Capitol Hill on Wednesday reveals that the effort in the U.S. Senate to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 is about to die on the vine.

According to Gallup, the historic approval rating of raising the minimum wage is close to 75%. Despite that consistent public support, however, even soft-ball efforts to increase the stagnant level of low-wage pay have faced constant opposition in Congress. The minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has been flat-lined for nearly forty years and that widespread income and wealth inequality has been shown to harm the overall economy, but neither of those facts have been enough to overcome the opposition of the powerful interests that maintain their grip on both political parties in Washington.

An admittedly weak bill by progressive standards, the bill now in the Senate, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is expected to be defeated in a procedural vote on Wednesday according to numerous reports.

According to The Hill:

Despite an intense push by President Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans haven’t budged and will reject the measure that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The procedural roll call to advance the bill is expected to fail on a party-line vote, short of the 60 votes needed.

The legislation is coming up for a vote after weeks of delay, but a multipronged pressure campaign against Republicans has failed to fracture the GOP — in sharp contrast to prior election years.

Though supported by a majority of Americans in poll after poll (after poll), an increase to the federal minimum wage has faced continued opposition by armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington.

The Associated Press reports:

[Harkin's] legislation is opposed by business groups including the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the International Franchise Association. The National Restaurant Association has hundreds of members at the Capitol this week lobbying lawmakers on several issues, including opposition to a higher minimum wage.

Also opposed were conservative organizations including Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by Charles and David Koch. The billionaire brothers are spending millions this year to unseat congressional Democrats, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his allies are casting them as unfettered villains.

Wednesday's vote seemed sure to add minimum wage to a scrap heap of Democratic bills that had a shared theme of economic fairness.

Others that have splattered against GOP roadblocks would restore expired benefits for the long-term unemployed and pressure employers to pay men and women equally. Democrats plan future votes on bills easing the costs of college and child care.

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