President Obama has turned the plight of the nation's low-wage workers into a battle cry for Democrats as they try to appeal to voters while the economy continues its slow recovery. Several states have advanced their own wage hikes amid congressional inaction.
Already in campaign mode, Obama revived one of his favorite stump lines: "Get fired up," he said, as he told supporters to pressure Republicans on the issue.
"This is a very simple issue. Either you're in favor of raising wages for hardworking Americans or you're not," Obama said. "If there's any good news here, it's that Republicans in
But the effort made little headway with Republicans, who argued that the rate hike would cost jobs. The measure was blocked by a GOP filibuster mostly on a party-line vote of 54 to 42.
"These are jobs where we learn to be dependable, to work with other employees and to learn that work ethic," Enzi said. Today's workers, he said, often "don't know how to interrupt their texting to wait on a customer."
The proposal would have boosted the minimum wage, now $7.25 an hour, to $8.20 initially, then again in 95-cent increments over two years to $10.10.
The issue had threatened to divide Democrats in an election year when several conservative-state senators are up for reelection.
But Tuesday, all Democrats voted to advance the measure, except Sen.
One Republican, Sen.
Senate Majority Leader