Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he wants to pass an increase in the minimum wage in the next two weeks.
"I'm going to try to do it this month," Reid said after leaving a closed Democratic caucus meeting on the issue in the Capitol.
Jason Furman, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, attended the session.
Word of the new item on the legislative agenda - and its compressed time frame for action - comes just days before the Senate is scheduled to break for Thanksgiving.
It comes also as Democrats on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are caught up in the troubled online rollout of the President's health reform law.
"I think there is a strong need to adjust the minimum wage to reflect the erosion it's had since its last passage," said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, who insisted Democrats are just "doing our business" by taking up the measure now.
Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, said there's been no decision on how high to raise the hourly rate now at $7.25 per hour.
Durbin said most Democrats believe the hike should be phased in over three years to about $10.
Congress last approved a minimum wage hike in 2007.
Asked why Democrats are moving it now he said it's "long overdue, an important economic issue, a message to working families struggling paycheck to paycheck that we can help."
Most Republicans are expected to oppose the increase, according to GOP senators and aides, but will offer a counter proposal they say will help create jobs.
"We're going to have some ideas about job creation and supporting higher wages by creating more jobs and more demand for labor," Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota.
He said an increase placed on employers would lead to the elimination of jobs.
"We want wages to be higher than minimum wage and you do that through job creation," he said.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who chairs the committee that deals with labor issues, acknowledged there are "a few" Democrats who have "legitimate concerns" about the increase. He declined to specify what they were.
Two moderate Democrats emerged from the meeting and declined to immediately embrace the idea.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, refused to answer questions about whether she would support an increase.
And Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia responded, "We just starting talking" about the proposal. When he was told that Reid said it might be on the floor this month, Manchin replied, "I don't know about that."
I love this, keep the pressure on the house to do some work this year. We all know the house has had enough vacations this year.
Apparently Reid thinks unemployment isn't high enough and he wants to discourage more hiring.
$7.25 per hour,
How much do Senators get paid an hour ?
It should be raised to a living wage for a single person working 40hrs a week with no dependents. It should be held to inflation there after. A different minimum wage for those under 18 should be less.
Good luck with that Harry
Five years without a raise is long enough.
We don't care what either party does. We'll simply boycott the double cheeseburger. I'm not going to pay $3.99 a piece for one. As a matter of fact I don't think anybody else in thier right mind will either. Its about time people realize Santa Clause does not reside in D.C..
The last time they did that we went in to a recession, but Reid certainly is not Avery brainy person, he just wants the dopers, corrupt unions and welfare frauds to continue to vote for liberal democrats. Why don't they concentrate.on repairing the damage Obozo has done to the hard working taxpayers.
THIS IS A GREAT WAY to stimulate the economy and lift people away from the poverty line. The workers will put the extra earnings back into the economy by buying clothes, corn flakes, and computers. This contrasts with corporations who would simply retain this money as earnings in corporate accounts. It is also a backdoor means to increase tax revenues to the government to help close the deficit and the delta money will flow out of corporate earnings into "ordinary income"'.
Which won't come to the floor for a vote in the House because (insert excuse of the day here).
enough nonsense already people are starving what a disgrace
Well, where is their proof? I don't think that this would kill any jobs that are out there or prevent any that would be created. If there is a need, then the employer is going to hire people to get the job done. Wages is only a part of the plan for the employer.
I would think folks on the right would WANT to raise the minimum wage: If you pay people a living wage, they need less public assistance, have a better change of growing their personal savings, can contribute more to the economy by creating greater demand for goods and services, etc., etc., etc.
It's a no-brainer – which tea bags and repubs should get easily, given that they seem to be brainless most of the time...
To take a page out of your book Reid, IT'S DOA dolt
Thanks to Obamanomics (US debt over $17 trillion. Unemployment over 7% since Obama has been President. Employers moving to part-time hiring models to avoid Obamacare. Pledging $7 billion to Africa instead of making sure the bills are paid. Etc. etc., etc.) the cost of living is unsustainable for entry level employment. Instead of working to keep the cost of living down and develop a thriving economy, Reid wants to "give candy to the poor" and raise the minimum wage.
Screw getting a Masters Degree, I'm signing up to flip burgers. You'll get paid the same.
lesson folks, we need money down at the bottom of the pyramid, because the money up top is not reaching down to our local communities, but going over seas. we need dads and moms sisters and brother in our local economy to bring home the bacon from our local stores, and small businesses in our economy. we need to circulate money here not up their where the rich folks are all the time. the lower pyramid are the worker ants of our economy we are the ones that shuffles money here and their to grow our economy. we need money Reid give it to us and we will create jobs down here.
Minimum wage is BS in USA, it should be 20 dollars hourly. We need manufacturing back for full time positions. Not selling Tshirts, Neither May I help you jobs.
just when we need a diversion– HR to the rescue