The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee today approved legislation to raise the minimum wage to $4.65 an hour over three years, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, committee chairman, predicted the first increase in eight years would be swiftly approved next week by the full Senate.
The committee approved Kennedy’s bill, which President Bush has threatened to veto, by an 11-5 vote with two Republicans joining Democrats for the majority.
“I think we’ll get an increase. This is going to be before the Congress, before the Senate and before the President in the next few weeks,” Kennedy (D-Mass.) said afterward. The minimum wage now is $3.35 an hour.
Kennedy said he is “glad to listen” to the Administration’s proposal for a lower “training wage” for newly hired workers but said he and committee Democrats remained strongly opposed to it because it has no provision for “real training” and all minimum-wage workers would be covered.
Kennedy predicted that a presidential veto would be overridden. “We’re going to get this legislation achieved,” he said.