Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to scuttle a deal to raise the minimum wage, The Hill reports, despite the fact that the proposed increase matches one proposed by President Obama last year, providing new evidence that Reid and other top Democrats are more interested in giving themselves a political cudgel than a policy victory.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is trying to broker a deal to lift the minimum wage to $9 an hour, a compromise from the Democrats’ current push for a hike to $10.10 an hour. Reid (D-NV) is struggling to keep his Democrat colleagues from backing the Collins deal, The Hill reports.
National Democrats are increasingly concerned about a turnout disadvantage this fall. Historically, voters in midterms tend to be older, which favor Republicans. This natural GOP advantage is magnified by Obama’s lagging unpopularity, especially among younger voters who are critical blocks of the Democrat base. If large segments of the Democrat base stay home in November, a difficult election cycle could become a disaster for Democrats.
In recent months, Democrats have embraced a minimum wage increase as an issue to motivate their base voters. State legislatures controlled by Democrats have pushed their own wage hikes and labor activists have placed ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage in two battleground states, Arkansas and Alaska. Democrats used a similar strategy in 2006, when they swept to majorities in both chambers of Congress.
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