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Senate Republicans Filibuster Minimum Wage Hike

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AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

The procedural motion to begin debate received 54 votes for, and 42 against -- short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster.

The only Republican who voted with Democrats to begin debate on the bill was Sen. Bob Corker (TN). "While I think the underlying policy is problematic, I think we should always debate ways to help improve the standard of living of Americans," he said in a statement sent to TPM.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) had expressed willingness to play ball on the minimum wage but decided that hike to $10.10 per hour -- phased in over three years -- was too high for her. Democrats, who are aggressively touting the issue on the 2014 campaign trail, declined to budge on the $10.10 figure.

"If we don't succeed this time ... we will bring this bill to the floor again and again and again," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said before the vote. "And just like unemployment insurance, sooner or later we will get it done."

At the last minute, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote to no in order to preserve his procedural right to bring up the bill again later.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The bill to raise it is sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and strongly backed by President Barack Obama. In the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has all but ruled it out.

This article has been updated to include Sen. Corker's statement.

About The Author

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.