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U.S. Senate Democrats Look To March Vote On 39 Percent Minimum Wage Increase

    February 3, 2014

    U.S. Senate Democrats want an election-year, March vote on a bill to boost the federal minimum wage 39 percent over two years. The announcement follows President Barack Obama's State of the Union declaration that he would sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for new federal contractors, Roll Call reported.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "has committed to bring this legislation up in the next work period, the first part of March," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the secretary of the Democratic Conference.

    The bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, would phase in an increase in the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over two years. Obama also said if Congress does not act he would bypass Congress and would use executive authority more often to reduce income inequality.

    Republicans charge that Democrats are using the issue of income inequality only for political gain and that raising the minimum wage would hurt employers and the economy, Roll Call reported. Democrats contend that they are pushing for policies that help those who have been left behind by Republican pro-business policies. Supporters pointed out that most minimum-wage workers are women.