News

Senate Republicans block Obama bid to hike minimum wage

Senate Republicans block Obama bid to hike minimum wage

MINIMUM WAGE:Low-wage workers rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 28, to urge Congress to raise the minimum wage as lawmakers return to Washington following a two week hiatus. Photo: Associated Press

By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked one of President Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities, a bill to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in five years.

On a nearly party-line vote of 54-42, supporters fell short of the 60 votes that would have been needed to end a procedural roadblock against the legislation in the Democratic-led Senate.

Just one Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, joined Democrats in voting to advance the bill, which would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour during the next three years and then adjust it for inflation in the future. The federal minimum wage is now $7.25 an hour.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid switched his vote from yes to no to reserve his right to bring up the bill again.

President Barack Obama planned to attack Republicans over their opposition at an event at the White House later in the day where he was expected to again argue that 16 million minimum-wage workers deserve a raise.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would raise the wages of about 16.5 million Americans and lift 900,000 out of poverty.

But it also estimated the bill could cost up to 1 million Americans their jobs because businesses may simply be unable to afford to pay them.

Polls show that most Americans, upward of 60 percent, say they would support a minimum-wage increase.

But Republicans on Monday cited a Bloomberg Poll in which 57 percent of respondents said it was an “unacceptable” trade-off if the bill raised the incomes of 16.5 million Americans while eliminating 500,000 jobs.

Democrats argue an increase in the minimum wage would boost the economy overall, and plan to use the issue to rally their liberal base ahead of the November congressional elections.

“Millions of American workers will be watching how United States senators vote today,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said before the vote. “They’ll be observing to see if we ensure all full-time workers in this country receive livable wages.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell mocked Democrats, saying: “They don’t even pretend to be serious about jobs anymore.”

The Democrats’ “true focus” was on “making the far left happy – not helping the middle class,” McConnell said.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Jim Loney and Gunna Dickson)

Recent Headlines

59 mins ago in Lifestyle, National

Record number of Millennials are living with their parents

Fresh
23-overlay-9

Living at home with parents is now the most common arrangement for people age 18-34.

1 hour ago in National, World

Obama to Asians worried about U.S. election: It’s going to be OK

Fresh
16-overlay-8

U.S. President Barack Obama sought on Wednesday to ease growing Asian worries about the raucous election campaign to succeed him which has been dominated by the incendiary rhetoric of mogul Donald Trump, now the Republican Party's nominee.

2 hours ago in Sports

Super Bowls awarded

Fresh
goodell16145779127383

The NFL has awarded the 2019 through 2021 Super Bowls to three cities that have significant financial investments in new stadiums or recently upgraded an existing one.

2 hours ago in National

U.S. security union wants more screeners to ease airport delays

Fresh
airportREUTERS

The union for transportation security officers urged Congress to pay for 6,000 more full-time workers who conduct screenings to alleviate long lines at U.S. airports, a problem that caused a shakeup in the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's management.

2 hours ago in Sports

Physics, engineering professors back Tom Brady ‘Deflategate’ appeal

tombradyREUTERS

A group of 21 physics and engineering professors on Tuesday urged a U.S. federal appeals court to reconsider its 2-1 decision to reinstate the New England Patriots quarterback's four-game National Football League suspension in the "Deflategate" case.