House Republicans unanimously voted down a measure Friday that would have raised the federal minimum wage, from its current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 by 2015.
Six Democrats joined 227 Republicans in voting it down; 184 Democrats voted yes.
The legislation was proposed as a last-minute amendment upon passage of the SKILLS Act, which reauthorizes a jobs training program. The procedural move, known as the motion to recommit, was invoked by Democrats with the instruction that the minimum wage amendment be tacked on to the SKILLS Act, an aide said.
An increase in the minimum wage to $9 was backed by President Obama during this year’s State of the Union, and immediately shot down by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who argued that it would drive up unemployment by making it harder for small businesses to hire.
Democrats believe it’s a winning issue for them, and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the author of the amendment, offered a glimpse into how they intend to talk about it.
“Even while corporate profits soar and the stock market reaches new highs, the working poor continue to fall further and further behind,” Miller said in a prepared statement. “If the Republicans want to take away a priority of service for low income Americans who want to learn new skills for a better job and a better life, the least we can do is make sure these workers get a decent wage.”