Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 28, 2015

GOP Filibusters Minimum Wage Hike (Updated)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:55 p.m. | GOP senators blocked a Democrat-led effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on Wednesday — although Democrats said they planned to bring the issue up again and some in both parties called for a compromise.

The Senate voted 54-42 to limit debate on taking up the proposal, falling short of the 60 votes needed.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the only Republican to break ranks and vote in support of cloture. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed his vote to no in order to maintain his right to reconsider the vote.

The outcome has long been anticipated. It’s the latest in a series of votes that Democrats plan to use to highlight campaign priorities ahead of November.

The failed vote came as President Barack Obama was scheduled to make another push to phase up the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Immediately after the votes, Maine’s senators — Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King — again called for a compromise on the issue in separate statements.

“I recognize how difficult it is for anyone who is trying to make ends meet on the minimum wage, and I believe it should be increased,” Collin said. “In 2007, the last time the Senate voted on this issue, I supported legislation that raised the federal minimum wage to the current $7.25 an hour. It is clear, however, that the President’s current proposal – which is considerably higher than the $9 minimum wage he proposed just last year — does not have the votes it would need to pass the Senate, much less the House.  That’s why I have spent the past several weeks in discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle about a possible alternative that could raise the minimum wage by a reasonable amount that would not result in the huge job losses caused by a 39 percent increase to $10.10.”

Collins complained that Reid would not allow a vote on any amendments.

King expressed his disappointment with the Senate vote but said a compromise would be better than nothing.

“This issue is too important to fall victim to partisan, election-year politics,” he said. “I’m going to push forward to find common ground with my colleagues and hope to strike a compromise that will increase the minimum wage. It would be shameful to walk away from this session without any progress.”

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin has led the charge in the Senate in support of the legislation.

“What we are going to vote on [Wednesday] will have a drastic effect on millions of American families — and it is going to have a big effect on our economy, because it will boost our economy and get the wheels going again, because people will have more money to spend,” the Iowa Democrat said Tuesday, previewing the vote on the floor. “They will spend it on Main Street, and that is what is lacking right now — consumer demand — consumers with enough money to spend on Main Street.”

Many Republicans oppose the minimum-wage increase, pointing to statistics indicating it could imperil job creation efforts. That crowd includes Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who on Tuesday floated an energy policy bill in lieu of the minimum-wage hike.

“Every senator who votes ‘yes’ is voting with an absolute certainty that hundreds of thousands of workers, including a great many African-American teenagers and a great many Hispanic teenagers, will be laid off as a consequence of their vote,” Cruz said. “I would challenge any of the senators in this chamber to look in the eyes of those African-American teenagers, those Hispanic teenagers who are looking for a better opportunity.”

Harkin pushed back against Cruz’s line of reasoning Tuesday.

“Again, we hear from the other side that by raising the minimum wage there will be this massive loss of jobs. That is simply not true. It is a myth. But it is brought up every time,” Harkin said. “I have been in Congress now 40 years. We have raised the minimum wage several times during that period of time both under Democratic and Republican presidents. Every time it has come up, we hear that same old song: It is going to cost jobs. Guess what. Every time we raise the minimum wage, there has been no big loss of jobs.”

In a sign the Democrats perhaps never really expected to make much progress on the minimum wage bill, it included language that would extend higher limits on expensing, a tax code change that would seem to require the bill to originate in the House to avoid a constitutional challenge.

Sarah Chacko contributed to this report.

  • Ed

    I guess the C bO report, supposedly non-partisan, is meaningless?

    • Christian

      I guess you missed the statement by the CBO saying that their report was represented inaccurately by the GOP?

      • Ed
        • Christian

          I’ve seen the report thank you, reposting it made little difference.

          This CBO report is based on the work of some 30 individuals. You’ll note that the report provides both positive AND negative aspects of the minimum wage increase in general. The report never states that the increase in and of itself is entirely negative.

          You’ll also note, in addition to this lukewarm response by these 30-some individuals, we have these 75 economists backing the measure.

          Relying solely on the CBO report isn’t a strong enough argument, especially since, like I said before, the report is essentially as positive as it is negative.

  • GoldBeachBiker

    Democrats are fascists

    • Christian

      …Democrats adhere to a definitively far-right system of government? Is that what you’re saying?

    • Nicholas DeLuca

      Fascists ? You clearly do not understand the meaning of the term. Government by the Koch Bros., the American Heritage Foundation , ALEC , The Council for Growth, and on and on are the real Fascists.

  • ralph_indianapolis

    And the GOP thinks that if they gain control of the Sentate the Democrats will be gracious and not fillbuster everything sight?

  • voltaic

    Something that would help millions of middle class and lower income Americans is stopped by the corporate controlled Koch Bros GOP. Nothing new here. Stop equal pay for women, end unemployment benefits for millions of job seekers and veterans, cut food aid to hungry kids and now crush more lives by stopping a minimum wage increase. Feed the rich and corporations and starve the poor and middle class.

  • ShadrachSmith

    The Democrats don’t want to pass the minimum wage bill, they want to campaign on the minimum wage bill. Democrats don’t govern, they campaign.

    • Christian

      Ah, yes. Because the Republican appeals to sensational nationalism is all about governance, not shallow campaigning. Seems legit.

      What you propose is a really half-assed analysis of the issue. “This is about campaigning!” …OK, sure. The liberals advocating a liberal idea is just a ploy to get liberals into office. And for what?! So they can do liberal things, like… er… raise the minimum wage, maybe? How scandalous!

      You’re avoiding the issue. The issue is not campaign schemes, it’s the minimum wage. Believe it or not, all politicians campaign. Sometimes they campaign by appealing to the people. Y’know, 2/3’s of which appear to support a raise in the minimum wage.

    • Dustin Hogge

      The Republicans have been in campaign mode since January 2009 while the Democrats have tried to get substantive bills passed that would help the middle class and working poor, while being consistently obstructed by the Republicans. They have tried repealing the ACA over 50 times now, which is DOA in the Senate and would never be signed by the president. They’re doing it to please they’re moronic base like you, and it’s a waste of time and money. Today the Democrats voted to increase the minimum wage, while the House Republicans voted for $310 billion more in corporate tax breaks that are unpaid for and would tack on to the budget deficit. Get a damn clue!

      • ShadrachSmith

        Thanks for your thoughtful input :-)

        I’m going to vote Republican anyway, if you don’t mind.

    • Nicholas DeLuca

      Republicans refuse to govern. If they can not get their way, they obstruct. They clearly do not understand that in a democracy, the majority rules. The minority can make its influence felt through debate and compromise. We have put up with this crap for five years. Enough already !

      • ShadrachSmith

        “We have put up with this crap for five years. Enough already !”

        That feeling is shared by more people than you know :-)

  • Eve

    What’s the difference, I’m sure if the bill would of had 60 votes, it wouldn’t pass in the “House” anyway. With the majority of republicans in the house, everything that has to do with a “quality life” for the middle class and poor is always a vote “NO” were at the bottom of the food chain and that’s the only way the rich can stay rich. They rather have us suffer trying to succeed than to see 80 percent of the population succeed and live the only one life we have. Were all sick from all the food there manufacturing that’s bad for our health but good for there pockets. They don’t care about us.

  • wdb

    Obviously the bill would not pass in the House anyway.

    • Nicholas DeLuca

      Because of House GOP obstruction . They can’t seem to bring themselves to actually govern

  • butch

    Stupididity is a word I made up. The definition of Stupididity is when something is so stupid you have to make up a new word for it. There is a lot of stupididity in destroying a whole country just because your mad at the other side. Maybe the Republicans need there Mommy’s to hold there hands next vote.

  • BMarie

    Has anyone ever calculated what the minimum wage would be today if the minimum wage had been adjusted for inflation since inception? I would think that depending on what that figure is, either side could be using that as an argument for or against the suggested increase. Seems to me that a fairly simple law that just states the minimum wage will be adjusted each year based on the rate of inflation would be easier to pass than a huge jump, like what is proposed now. But would be interesting to know what the amount would actually be if such a law had been passed at the very beginning of the implementation of a minimum wage. Somehow I suspect that it might not even be as high as it is now.

    • pitch1934

      The minimum wage law was part of the Fair Labor Standards Act as enacted in 1938, It was .25 per hour. Adjusted for inflation it would be more than the $10.10 proposed in the Senate.

  • Deb915

    After working for 25 years for somebody else I decided it was time for a change, trading was the answer for me because I need to work from home. I say stop working for somebody else and make your own money .Check out the website Traders Superstore, just Google them you should be able to find them, these guys are really doing it right and make you wonder why everybody isn’t like them.

  • GChem 68

    Even if it seems unfair that the impersonal nature of the free market determines who gets to try new things, we all benefit where innovations are first tried by others.

  • Hitched

    Since each infant will experience environmental variability as it develops, it is impossible to foresee anyone’s complete future potential.

  • Chad Hatten Houston

    reat article

  • Chad Hatten Houston

    adjusted for inflation 17.96 per hour

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...