In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Dems To Use Minimum Wage Vote As Weapon Against GOP

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AP Photo / Susan Walsh

The bill faces a tough slog in the Senate given the GOP's power to deny an up-or-down vote by filibustering. Republican leadership is signaling opposition.

"A nearly 50 percent hike is going to be tough, especially when the teen unemployment is already 22 percent," said a senior GOP Senate aide. "We have a lot of job-creation ideas. We'll see if this is just another political gambit to distract from Obamacare, of if they're serious soon."

President Barack Obama supports the bill, which lifts the wage higher than the $9 figure he proposed earlier this year in his State of the Union speech. "The President has long supported raising the minimum wage," a White House official told TPM, "so hardworking Americans can have a decent wage for a day's works to support their families and make ends meet, and he supports the Harkin/Miller bill that accomplishes this important goal."

Even if the bill were to pass the Senate, it would probably dead on arrival in the Republican-led House, which is dominated by conservatives who have ideological objections to the minimum wage. Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) office declined to comment for this article, but earlier this year he swiftly rejected Obama's proposal to lift the wage to $9 an hour, warning that such a change would cost jobs and raise unemployment.

Earlier this year, the White House pointed to multiple studies which found no evidence that a higher minimum wage would harm employment, and cited findings that it would reduce turnover and lead to a more productive workforce.