Senate Republicans Filibuster Minimum Wage Hike


As expected, Senate Republicans voted on Wednesday to block debate on legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

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.


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 and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.