Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday delayed action for a few weeks on a bill to increase the minimum wage, a top political and policy priority of the White House and congressional Democrats this election year.
Reid blamed the delay on Republican “obstruction” that he said has clogged up the Senate calendar.
The move comes on the heels of a Congressional Budget Office report that found the wage hike could lift 900,000 people out of poverty but also lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs.
Democrats previously targeted March 6 for a vote on the bill written by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and index future hikes to the inflation rate.
Reid now expects to get to it in late March or April.
Republicans oppose the measure, so it’s unlikely Democrats will be able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles. Reid may not even have the support of all 53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with them.
While most Democrats support the bill, at least two centrist Democrats either oppose it or may want to change it. Republicans are sure to seize on any defections.
Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is against the increase, according to aides and senators involved in the issue. Pryor, who is facing a tough re-election, may be the most endangered Democrat in the Senate and he regularly votes against his caucus.
Another threatened Democrat, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, told CNN there is “broad base support” in her state for a hike in the minimum wage. But she may want to change the Harkin bill in order to boost wages for service-industry workers.
“I am supporting an increase in the minimum wage. I have not committed to this specific bill,” Landrieu said. “I’m talking with others, Republicans and Democrats, about the tip wage in particular. For many of our industries, that’s important.”
Republicans argue an increase in the minimum wage would lead to job losses, as the CBO reported.
“CBO indicated we would lose from 500,000 to a million jobs with the minimum wage increase our friends on the other side are recommending,” warned Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who is facing his own re-election challenges in Kentucky.
“Couple that with CBO’s estimate of 2.3 million fewer jobs created under Obamacare and you’ve got a pretty big hit on an economy that is already suffering from way to much joblessness,” McConnell said. The 2.3 million figure cited by McConnell has been contested.
Another GOP senator up for re-election, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, echoed those concerns.
I am sure it has nothing to so with the CBO reports that just came out. Reid can NOT accept responsibility for his own decisions. He has to blame republicans for everything. Way to man up, Reid .
Let me get this right. Senate Republicans are millionaires. Yet, they want people to try to make ends meet at less than $8 per hour. They hate Obama Care but they get their health care paid for by you and me... FOR LIFE. They promote tax breaks and funding to corporations and the military who don't need them. Please give me one GOOD reason why you vote for a Republican if you aren't wealthy. Please spare me the "Socialist", "Muslim", nonsense. Why would you vote for people who despise you and laugh at you? Why? Oh, Donna, Smith, Freedom, Just Sayin', Just Askin", Fair is Fair, and Rick, please don't respond, your opinion means nothing. Thank you.
He just wants and knows the GOP will make fools of themselves for several more weeks being the party of STUPID that they are!!!!
10.10 is to high all at once and it would go up with inflation ?Is there any room in the middle dims ? like 8.50 ? an no inflation rise .Inflation is going t0 be bad in a bad way soon .Only the goverment can print cash an not fill it .
come on reid you didnt expect these repubs zealots to obstruct. its time you start acting like the president and start figuring out ways to get things done. these repubs are not about american forward movement, they are doing their best to see backward movement. they keep scooping the money to the big boys, for them to invest in slave labor abroad, and leave our economy penny less. this is a disaster in the making. because how can you survive when only one leg of a four legged table is strong, eventually the other three legs will collapse. we need money in this country to support small businesses which will stay in America and not outsourced to slave labor abroad.
I think the GOP is losing the point is that many that would lose the lower wage jobs are those that are going to get the higher paid ones. Many of the others would have been replaced by automation.
Come on, Harry! The Obama Administration has already killed off thousands of jobs with Obamacare. You are preventing them from killing off even more jobs with the minimum wage increase.
Why work when "Sugar-Daddy" Barack will take care of you?
Wow. Which is it?! Huge difference between 500,000 and 1 million. Making it up as you go or what?
Ridiculous. If approximately three-fourths of all Americans want a minimum wage increase and Reid can't even find 60 votes, I guess this clears up any question of what Republicans actually stand for.
I worked at minimum wage in the early 1970s at, I recollect, $1.60 an hour. That was enough to get me through college in extreme poverty, give or take a small loan that took me years to pay off. But if you multiply that $1.60 by the subsequent change in the CPI, $10.10 is ludicrously low–ought to be more like $15.00 and that is one hell of a discrepancy.
I don't think it's exactly a mystery why the U.S. now has the highest rich-poor gap of any developed nation (no, wait, make that out of almost all nations). It's also no mystery why wages have stagnated, if not decreased substantially, for well more than a decade. Actual people seem to be the least of the GOP's priorities, if not an outright nuisance.
It's about time we let Congress know that the American people are NOT the nation's most expendable commodity. In fact, we just happen to be the ONLY reason we have a nation at all. Perhaps this November people might get a clue–and vote for their own damn direct interests for a change.
Homer Harry does not have the Democrat votes for this nonsense – what a stinking sack of democrat is he.
Perhaps if those who are blocking the increase had not become rich on the backs of those who are not priviledged such as most politicians who vacation while more than a million families wait on unemployment checks,they would remember the source of their current status. Congress is a big joke and we, the people are being duped. Clean houses and start with new people .
Sen.Reid so glad you have the republicans to blame or your shortcommings
Increasing the minimum wage might open more jobs in the long rung because citizens working two or three jobs could probably work one job opening up their second or third job to others.
What an idiot, he is the one that determines what is on the schedule. He shows his true colors by blaming anyone but himself. I can quantify this with the fact that he has not scheduled any bill for vote that his king has not approved. Thus there are hundreds of bills that have not had any action taken because of his socialist beliefs.
Well, it will never cost a single job in raising this minimum wage, in fact it will improve the Economy–people spend more, Economy grows thus–in a parallel economy, you spend Economy moves on those wheels. It raises the standard of living too. We need to bring Manufacturing too. Why not America produce Energy efficient light bulbs here? Pathetic to see every darn thing is made in China or Bangladesh. Just don't buy these goods, please.