The House on Friday rejected a Democratic push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, shooting down one of President Obama’s priorities from his State of the Union speech.
The 233-184 defeat also exposed divisions within the Democratic Party. Where Mr. Obama called for a hike from the current $7.25 to $9 an hour, congressional Democrats pushed for a $10.10 rate.
But they couldn’t muster unity even within their own ranks. Six Democrats from conservative-leaning districts voted against the wage increase, as did every single Republican who was present.
“We need jobs out there. The best approach right now is to get federal spending under control and government out of the way of the nation’s job creators,” said Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican, who led the opposition.
Mr. Obama’s call for a hike to $9 an hour reportedly caught labor advocates off guard. They had been working towards the $10.10 figure.
The White House has not weighed in on the $10.10 raise.
Democrats said a wage increase would have applied to 30 million workers and said raising the rate would have paid for itself because while businesses would have had to pay more, they would have seen customers with more money to spend.