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3-Year Rise in Base Wage to $4.25 to Be Proposed by Labor Secretary

From Associated Press

Labor Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole will outline today a Bush Administration proposal to increase the minimum wage to $4.25 an hour over three years, coupled with a $3.35 hourly “training wage” for some new workers, Administration officials said Thursday.

Dole, in testimony before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, is expected to set the stage for a long debate between the Democratic majorities of Congress and the new Republican Administration over the minimum wage, which has stood at $3.35 an hour since 1981.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the committee chairman, has introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage to $4.55 an hour over three years, with automatic periodic increases in the future.

But he and other Democrats oppose the sub-minimum wage, which the Administration calls a training wage. Legislation to raise the wage floor died in Congress last year, partly because of a dispute over the training wage.

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One Administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Dole will propose that all small businesses be exempted from the higher minimum wage and continue paying the current $3.35 rate.


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