News / USA

US Minimum Wage Hike Blocked in Senate

Senator Tom Harkin, sponsor of the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (R), joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, comments to reporters after the bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 was stopped in the Senate, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in
Senator Tom Harkin, sponsor of the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (R), joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, comments to reporters after the bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 was stopped in the Senate, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in
Michael Bowman
An effort to raise America’s national minimum wage has been blocked by minority Republicans in the U.S. Senate. The issue is the latest partisan skirmish between lawmakers as both parties position themselves for mid-term elections in November.

The minimum wage in America is $7.25 an hour, and has been since 2009. But the cost of living has continued to climb, eroding the purchasing power of low-wage workers. Democratic Senator Edward Markey said that must change.

“No person in America should work full time and not earn enough to be above the poverty level. Raising the minimum wage is a first step to fighting income inequality in our country,” said Markey.

Wednesday’s 54-42 vote was shy of the three-fifths required to begin Senate debate on a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over the next two years.

Partisan disagreement

Republicans lined up in opposition to the measure. Senator John Cornyn argued higher wages make labor more expensive, which discourages employment.

“We all want to see hard-working American families work their way toward the American dream. But we are not going to be able to do that by the federal government setting wages for restaurants, small businesses and other people across the country,” said Cornyn.

Democrats disagree, saying a wage hike will boost consumer spending and provide a badly-needed lift to the economy.

That Democrats would press for a minimum wage hike and Republicans would block the bill has been known for months.  

Most Democrats want to give low-wage workers a raise and are happy to force Republicans to go on record opposing it.

Before votes were cast,  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “Millions of American workers will be watching how each senator votes today. And for Republicans, this vote will demonstrate whether they truly care about our economy.”

Eye on elections

Republicans, though, accuse Democrats of staging “show votes” to distract the American public from anemic economic growth recorded under President Barack Obama.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to Reid. “Senate Democrats are pushing legislation today that would cost as many as a million jobs in this country. They seem to think they can coast on talking points and stale ideas,” he said.

Republicans face similar charges from Democrats in the Republican-led House of Representatives, where dozens of votes have been held to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.

While Republicans continue to shine a spotlight on Obamacare as a central campaign issue, Democrats have crafted a populist economic message in hopes of rallying the party’s base between now and November, when one-third of the Senate and all House seats will be contested.  

Political observers expect Republicans to retain their majority in the House, but which party will control the Senate is -- at this point -- anyone’s guess.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: rosemary ward from: tamarac fla
May 02, 2014 4:46 AM
Republicans who do not vote to raise the minimum wage
are going to lose votes in the upcoming election.
They make more than $10.10 an hour but they simply
do not care about the working class. (Buffett doesn't think
it should be raised, but he's a billionaire! )This kind of
arrogance gives Politicians and the rich a well deserved
black eye.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs