"They (Republicans) prevented a raise for 28 million hard-working
Americans. They said no to helping millions work their way out of
poverty," Obama said at the White House, backed up by low-wage
On a nearly party-line vote of 54-42, Obama's Democrats fell short
of the needed 60 Senate votes to end a procedural roadblock against
a White House-backed bill.
The legislation would raise the minimum hourly wage from its current
$7.25 to $10.10 per hour during the next three years, and then index
for inflation in the future.
Just one Republican, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, joined
Democrats in voting to advance the measure.
Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid switched his vote from
yes to no to reserve his right to bring up the bill again.
With polls showing that more 60 percent of Americans support raising
the minimum wage, Democrats intend to hammer away at the issue in an
effort to rally their liberal base in advance of the November
"Change is happening, whether Republicans like it or not," Obama
said. "And so my message to the American people is this: Do not get
discouraged by a vote like the one we saw this morning. Get fired
up, get organized, make your voices heard."
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill
would raise the wages of 16.5 million Americans and lift 900,000 of
them out of poverty.
But it also estimated the bill could cost up to 1 million Americans
their jobs because businesses may simply be unable to afford to pay
[to top of second column]
Republicans on Monday cited a Bloomberg Poll in which 57 percent of
respondents said it was an "unacceptable" trade-off if the bill
raised the incomes of 16.5 million Americans while eliminating
Democrats argue an increase in the minimum wage would boost the
economy overall by getting more money into it.
"Millions of American workers will be watching how United States
senators vote today," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said
before the vote. "They'll be observing to see if we ensure all
full-time workers in this country receive livable wages."
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell mocked Democrats, saying:
"They don't even pretend to be serious about jobs anymore."
The Democrats' "true focus" was on "making the far left happy — not
helping the middle class," McConnell said.
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland;
editing by Jim Loney and
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