DMI Blog

Elana Levin

Hiding Their Poison Pills, New Minimum Wage Fight in Congress

For the latest Minimum wage bill updates and travesties, check out the new post Nathan Newman wrote on Daily Kos.: The post below was written by me on friday.
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For almost a decade progressives, religious groups, unions, a whole heck of a lot of people have been pressuring the congress to raise the minimum wage which is at its lowest buying power in 51 years.

Now, the summer before a congressional election, conservatives in congress have suddenly discovered the issue. I don't think that these guys just suddenly started reading their constituent mail. I think they are pandering. And you know what, pander away if it will bring countless people out of dire poverty and boost the economy. BUT, these panderers wouldn't vote to put through good legislation before. And this time around, in what seems to be a cynical, disgusting trend, they are trying to tack on poison pill amendments. Again! What's worse is the House is calling in to play the obscure "Martial Law" in which the poison pills won't be announced until the bill is brought to the floor!! How's that for faith in the democratic process and accountability?

The poison pill amendment that was tacked on to a proposed minimum wage bill earlier this summer was very destructive and the wage raise itself got voted down in the Senate. Mike Hall on AFL-CIO blog explained in June:

[Sen.] Enzi's amendment, which also was defeated, would have gutted several provisions of the Fair Labor Standard Act. Like previous Republican maneuvers to block a real minimum wage increase, Enzi's amendment would have eliminated wage and hour protections for millions of workers, cut overtime pay by replacing the 40-hour workweek with an 80-hour, two-week work period and lowered wages for tipped workers....

Oh wait a second, that trick sounds familiar. The same poison pill scheme was used in 2005 and again the snake-oil man selling the poison was Senator Enzi! No wonder the man failed our Congressional Middle Class Scorecard. I wonder if he'll propose the same gutting of workers' rights on this minimum wage bill this time around? Hard to say when congressional leadership is deliberately keeping everything a secret.

Today's NY Times article about this move is ok but it hilariously refers to Rep. Sherwood Boehlert as a "moderate". Ok so maybe he self identifies that way and he has voted to support minimum wage raises before but getting an F on the Middle Class Scorecard doesn't sound very moderate to me. He supported the bankruptcy bill, the estate tax, CAFTA, you name it. I mean if we decide that someone who voted with Tom Delay 88% of the time is a moderate... well I'd have to disagree.

Elana Levin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 12:26 PM, Jul 28, 2006 in Community Development | Congress | Economic Opportunity | Economy | Middle-class squeeze | Politics | Progressive Agenda
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