'No Raise for You!': Modest Minimum Wage Increase Defeated in Senate

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In a procedural vote that did not garner the 60 votes needed to defeat a Republican filibuster on Wednesday, the Democrats’ effort to bring a bill to increase the federal minimum wage to the floor for a full debate and vote was defeated by a 54-42 to margin.

Ultimate passage of the bill would have brought the minimum wage from its current $7.25 up to $10.10 an hour.

“The truth is that the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ahead of the vote. 

Sanders noted that while “corporate profits are at an all-time high” wages for low-paid and middle class workers “are near an all-time low.” Despite this, he said, he was “very disappointed, but not surprised” that Republicans were unified in their opposition to raising pay for the nation’s lowest-paid workers.

The roll call (organized in alphabetical by the last name) follows, with those who voted “yea” showing support for the increase while those who voted “nay” cast their votes to defeat the measure: The roll call is organized in alphabetical by the last name:

Alexander (R-TN),
Ayotte (R-NH),
Baldwin (D-WI),
Barrasso (R-WY),
Begich (D-AK),
Bennet (D-CO),
Blumenthal (D-CT),
Blunt (R-MO),
Booker (D-NJ),
Boozman (R-AR),
Boxer (D-CA),
Brown (D-OH),
Burr (R-NC),
Cantwell (D-WA),
Cardin (D-MD),
Carper (D-DE),
Casey (D-PA),
Chambliss (R-GA),
Coats (R-IN),
Coburn (R-OK),
Cochran (R-MS),
Collins (R-ME),
Coons (D-DE),
Corker (R-TN),
Cornyn (R-TX),
Crapo (R-ID),
Cruz (R-TX),
Donnelly (D-IN),
Durbin (D-IL),
Enzi (R-WY),
Feinstein (D-CA),
Fischer (R-NE),
Flake (R-AZ),
Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY),
Graham (R-SC),
Grassley (R-IA),
Hagan (D-NC),
Harkin (D-IA),
Hatch (R-UT),
Heinrich (D-NM),
Heitkamp (D-ND),
Heller (R-NV),
Hirono (D-HI),
Hoeven (R-ND),
Inhofe (R-OK),
Isakson (R-GA),
Johanns (R-NE),
Johnson (D-SD),
Johnson (R-WI),
Kaine (D-VA),
King (I-ME),
Kirk (R-IL),
Klobuchar (D-MN),
Landrieu (D-LA),
Leahy (D-VT),
Lee (R-UT),
Levin (D-MI),
Manchin (D-WV),
Markey (D-MA),
McCain (R-AZ),
McCaskill (D-MO),
McConnell (R-KY),
Menendez (D-NJ),
Merkley (D-OR),
Mikulski (D-MD),
Moran (R-KS),
Murkowski (R-AK), Murphy (D-CT),
Murray (D-WA),
Nelson (D-FL),
Paul (R-KY),
Portman (R-OH),
Pryor (D-AR),
Reed (D-RI),
Reid (D-NV),
Risch (R-ID),
Roberts (R-KS),
Rockefeller (D-WV),
Rubio (R-FL),
Sanders (I-VT),
Schatz (D-HI),
Schumer (D-NY),
Scott (R-SC),
Sessions (R-AL),
Shaheen (D-NH),
Shelby (R-AL),
Stabenow (D-MI),
Tester (D-MT),
Thune (R-SD),
Toomey (R-PA),
Udall (D-CO),
Udall (D-NM),
Vitter (R-LA),
Walsh (D-MT),
Warner (D-VA),
Warren (D-MA),
Whitehouse (D-RI),
Wicker (R-MS),
Wyden (D-OR),

Proving once again that popular economic policies—even modest ones—that would improve the lives of millions of low-wage workers cannot possibly pass in a Congress dominated by the interests of the corporate class, reporting from Capitol Hill on Wednesday reveals that the effort in the U.S. Senate to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 is about to die on the vine.

According to Gallup, the historic approval rating of raising the minimum wage is close to 75%. Despite that consistent public support, however, even soft-ball efforts to increase the stagnant level of low-wage pay have faced constant opposition in Congress. The minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, has been flat-lined for nearly forty years and that widespread income and wealth inequality has been shown to harm the overall economy, but neither of those facts have been enough to overcome the opposition of the powerful interests that maintain their grip on both political parties in Washington.

An admittedly weak bill by progressive standards, the bill now in the Senate, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is expected to be defeated in a procedural vote on Wednesday according to numerous reports.


According to The Hill:

Though supported by a majority of Americans in poll after poll (after poll), an increase to the federal minimum wage has faced continued opposition by armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington.

The Associated Press reports:


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