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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More