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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid