Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not So Quick: Minimum Wage Raise Stalls in Senate

Bills_8 Apparently, the forthcoming minimum wage raise is not necessarily forthcoming.  At least not just yet.  Although the measure easily passed the House, the legislation is being held up in the Senate as a group of Senators seek to attach small business tax breaks to such a bill.

Here's the story from

The minimum wage increase that was supposed to zip through Congress veered off course Wednesday as lawmakers argued over business tax breaks that would be attached to ensure Republican support.

House Democrats demanded a clean bill from the Senate -- no tax attachment -- setting up a confrontation that could delay final congressional passage of the $2.10 an hour increase.

The Senate did vote 54-43 to advance a House-passed measure that would lift the minimum wage without any accompanying tax cut. However, that was well short of the 60 votes needed to keep that version moving.

The vote was a signal to the House that without the tax breaks a minimum wage bill appeared doomed in the Senate. And the Senate promptly moved to a broader bill, backed by its Democratic leaders, that would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over 26 months and provide $8.3 billion in tax benefits to businesses over 10 years.

Someone is going to have to blink to get this bill through.  Let's hope that both Senators and House Members realize what is at stake and act quickly to bring wage relief to low-income workers.


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