Republican-Led Filibuster Blocks Minimum Wage Bill in Senate

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from The New York Times,

A proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, an underpinning of President Obama’s economic agenda and an issue that Democrats hope to leverage against Republicans in the midterm elections, failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

The vote was 54 to 42, with 60 votes needed to advance the measure.

All but one Republican voted to sustain a filibuster against the measure, saying that the increase would damage the fragile economy and force businesses to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Democrats were mostly united behind the bill.

Senators of both parties took to the floor on Wednesday morning to debate the real-world implications of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25, a rate that has been unchanged since 2009.

Senator Mike Enzi, Republican of Wyoming, said the 40 percent increase to $10.10 was too large a cost for businesses to bear. “The proposal before the Senate throws cold water on job creation and it adds to the burdens businesses are already facing,” he said. “Instead the Senate should be considering proposals which promote job growth.”

Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, faulted Republicans for not allowing the bill to move forward. “Right now, if you work 40 hours a week in America, in the greatest country in the world, at a federal minimum wage, you make barely over $15,000 a year,” he said. “Think about how crazy that is.”

Mr. Obama was planning to address the vote in a speech from the White House later Wednesday.

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