Senate plans test vote Wednesday on minimum wage


McClatchy Washington Bureau

The Senate plans a test vote Wednesday on raising the minimum wage--and it’s expected to all but doom the effort this year.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, set the procedural wheels in motion Monday, as the Senate returned from a two week spring recess. Increasing the wage from $7.25 to $10.10 has been a Democratic priority, but Republicans have balked.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told Senate colleagues Monday the plan would eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said there will be a drop in employment.

Democrats insist the increase would boost the economy, particularly for those who need it most.

“If a person works 40 hours at $10.10 an hour, you’re no longer in poverty,” Reid told the Senate.

Republicans, he said, “refuse to allow millions of Americans the opportunity to get out of poverty by giving them a raise.”

Sixty votes are needed to continue debating the measure Wednesday. Democrats control 55 of the Senate’s 100 seats, and are not expected to get enough Republican support to keep going.

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