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94-3, Minimum Wage Bill Passes Senate

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Dems worked with Repubs and got the job done. Bravo.

From the AP:

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to boost the federal minimum wage by $2.10 to $7.25 an hour over two years, but packaged the increase with controversial tax cuts for small businesses and higher taxes for many $1 million-plus executives. […]

A top priority of Democrats, the wage hike has both real and symbolic consequences. It would be one of the first major legislative successes of the new Democratic-controlled Congress.

“Passing this wage hike represents a small but necessary step to help lift America’s working poor out of the ditches of poverty and onto the road toward economic prosperity,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

President Bush urged the House to support the measure, including the tax help for small business. He said, “The Senate has taken a step toward helping maintain a strong and dynamic labor market and promoting continued economic growth.”

So, what are the next steps?

The bill must now be reconciled with the House version passed Jan. 10 that contained no tax provisions. House Democrats have insisted they want a minimum wage bill with no strings attached, though some have conceded the difficulty of passing the legislation in the Senate without tax breaks.

Republicans stressed the importance of the business tax breaks in the bill, though it was a significantly smaller tax package than Republicans had sought during previous attempts to raise the minimum wage.

“The Senate’s reasonable approach recognizes that small businesses have been the steady engine of our growing economy and that they have been a source of new job creation, a source of job training,” said Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., who helped manage the debate for the GOP.

I love it when a bi-partisan plan comes together…

Oh, and by the way…who were the three who said no? Why, Coburn (R-OK), DeMint (R-SC) and Kyl (R-AZ).

FYI.