Friday, July 28, 2006

House Vote on Minimum Wage

It looks like the House may pass an increase in the minimum wage. As I have noted before, this is an extraordinary example of one-sided reporting of an issue. The only reason that there has been no increase in the minimum wage for some years is that Democrats have insisted on a 'stand-alone' increase, and have refused to support an increase tied to any business tax incentives. This may prevent a minimum wage increase this year as well.

Passing an increase will enhance the prospects for enacting an immigration bill, if only because few Republicans will want to hit the campaign trail with an increase in the minimum wage as the most noteworthy achievement of this Congressional term.

Update: The House passed the minimum wage increase by a vote of 230-180, at about 1:30 this morning. The measure was married to a cut in the death tax, and Democrats were incensed that they were forced to vote against a minimum wage increase because it was married to something they oppose so stridently. Of course, they've had the chance to 'pick their poison' because they've opposed it before when Republicans have married it to other items.

In the end, only 34 Democrats voted in favor of the measure, and most are either in Red states or otherwise face tough races this year. Here's the list of Democratic yes votes: Neil Abercrombie, John Barrow, Melissa Bean, Shelley Berkley, Marion Berry, Dan Boren, Leonard Boswell, Rick Boucher, Allen Boyd, Sherrod Brown, Ed Case, Ben Chandler, Bud Cramer, Henry Cuellar, Lincoln Davis, Chet Edwards, Harold Ford, Bart Gordon, Stephanie Herseth, William Jefferson, Jim Marshall, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre, Charles Melancon, Alan Mollohan, Dennis Moore, Collin Peterson, Nick Rahall, Mike Ross, Bobby Rush, Ted Strickland, John Tanner, Edolphus Towns and David Wu.

Now on the merits, one can make the case for a stand-alone increase in the minimum wage, but Democrats certainly can't be surprised that a Republican majority does not give them exactly the legislation they want. And considering that they've refused to compromise at all on a minimum wage increase, they can't complain that the majority makes the vote painful for them.

As I say, they picked their poison.

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