Friday, April 02, 2004

Democrats Finally Act Like Democrats

Proud to report that -- finally! -- yesterday Senate Democrats hung together in their attempt to raise the minimum wage. The vote came on a cloture motion to cut off debate on reauthorization of Welfare Reform. The Republicans wanted to end debate; the Democrats were fighting to attach a new minimum wage provision to the bill, proposing to raise the rate from $5.15 an hour (where it's been stuck since 1997) to $7.00 an hour over two years. "A person who works 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year would then make $14,560, rather than the current $10,712. Under federal guidelines, a family of three is considered poor if its annual income is less than $15,670."

The vote on cloture was 51 for (all Republicans) to 47 against (all Democrats). It takes 60 votes to end debate. The Democrats hung together for a change! And it was a good principle to hang together FOR.

As Senator Barbara Boxer said, the higher minimum wage was a logical corollary of the welfare bill. "We want to get people off welfare," Mrs. Boxer said. "That's the point of the underlying bill. Let's get them into work that pays. I hear all about compassionate conservatism. Fine. Show it to me. Where is it?" (Quotes from the New York Times story this morning.)

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