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.

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