president obama, the minimum wage, and his fellow democrats (part 2)

Since publishing the first part on this issue five days ago (“president obama, the minimum wage, and his fellow democrats,” April 3), I came across these two pieces, both pertinent to the original article. The two pieces below are excerpted from much longer much more informative articles, which should be read if this topic is of interest to you . . .

 I can’t imagine not being open to debating the issue

“The small number of senators who are open to compromise on a minimum wage hike are facing stiff resistance: their own party’s leadership. On the Democratic side, moderates like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and those facing reelection like Mark Begich of Alaska are open to finding a middle ground with Republicans. But they are up against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his leadership team, who are refusing to entertain any wage increase below their party’s target of $10.10 per hour.

A similar dynamic is unfolding on the GOP side where lawmakers like Bob Corker of Tennessee are willing to at least open debate on the plan. But he’s not finding a receptive audience from GOP leaders, who are signaling they are prepared to block the measure from even coming to the floor. ‘I can’t imagine not wanting to debate the best way to improve wages in America.’

Top Republicans, however, said blocking a minimum wage bill is the best way to telegraph the party’s frustration with the Democratic-led Senate’s priorities.

But there are political reasons on both sides for refusing to compromise. Many Republicans, who philosophically oppose the minimum wage, would rather just take one unpopular vote now—and litigate the rest of the election year over more politically palatable fights over Obamacare—rather than engage in a protracted fight over workers’ income.

Corker said he didn’t know if he’d support an increase in the minimum wage and is generally skeptical of government intervention in the workplace. But, he said, the two parties should at least engage in a debate over the issue. ‘Especially now with the kind of economic slowness that we have—whether you support raising the minimum wage or not, I can’t imagine not being open to debating the issue.’ ”

The above taken from an article titled “Leaders of both parties resist wage compromise” by Manu Raju and Burgess Everett for Politico (April 3, 2014). Click on over to Politico and read the entire piece,


Centrist Republicans not interested in another compromise

“Senate Republican centrists are reacting coolly to Sen. Susan Collins’s (R-Maine) effort to reach a compromise on the minimum wage, imperiling progress on President Obama’s top economic agenda item.

Collins needs to bring along at least four Republican colleagues and perhaps five—depending on how Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) votes on the issue—to move a minimum wage boost through the Senate.

Centrist Republicans who teamed up with Collins to forge a bipartisan deal to extend unemployment benefits for five months say they are not interested in another compromise to boost the minimum wage. . . . Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who spearheaded the negotiations on unemployment assistance, said the minimum wage is an issue best left to the states instead of the federal government.

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), another centrist Republican who supported this week’s agreement on unemployment benefits, said he would not be inclined to support a minimum wage compromise. ‘I don’t think so. Ohio has a higher minimum wage actually indexed to inflation.’

The first hurdle to passing the Democratic legislation will be to muster 60 votes to proceed to the measure. Collins warned that Reid will not get enough Republican support unless he promises to allow amendments to the minimum wage bill. ‘That depends on whether or not Sen. Reid is going to allow amendments and so far he hasn’t said.’

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Reid’s deputy, said Democratic leaders have yet to decide how to handle the process for considering the bill.

The above taken from an article titled “Centrist Republicans cool to minimum wage hike compromise” by Andrew Bolton for The Hill website (April 4, 2014). Click on over to The Hill and read the entire piece.

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