Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is struggling to stop Senate Democrats from backing a plan to undercut President Obama’s $10.10 minimum wage target.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has been reaching out to Democrats to agree on a compromise that is threatening to divide the president’s party on this core component of its election-year message.

Democrats already disagree among themselves over whether they should continue to stick to the $10.10 amount or try to work with Republicans on a lower figure.A senior Democratic leadership aide said Reid is a “hardcore” supporter of Obama’s target number, to be achieved over three years, a proposal strongly supported by labor unions, which are powerful in the majority leader’s state.But several Democratic senators have signaled they are willing to negotiate a lower wage floor that would be easier to get enough Senate votes to pass.

Now, despite his staunch personal preference for $10.10, Reid’s office doesn’t rule out compromise depending on feeling within his caucus.

“Sen. Collins is talking with colleagues on both sides of the aisle about a possible alternative that could raise the wage by a reasonable amount and avoid the loss of the 500,000 jobs that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates could result from raising the minimum wage too quickly and by too large an amount,” said Kevin Kelley, a spokesman for Collins.
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