Despite CT lawmakers’ support, minimum wage bill falters in Senate

U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol

Washington — Senate Democrats Wednesday failed to move forward on a bill that would boost the federal minimum wage, likely killing the effort in Congress.

The bill failed on a 54-44 vote. Sixty votes were needed.

All Democrats, including Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, with the exception of Sen. Harry Reid, D-N.V., voted for the bill. Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, voted “no” so that, under Senate rules he can bring up the bill for a vote again.

But the legislation is not likely to move forward in the Senate, and even less likely to be considered by the GOP-controlled House.

Republicans say a hike in the minimum wage would be a job killer.

The Senate bill would gradually raise in three phases the hourly federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. But Congress’ failure does not mean Connecticut’s low-wage workers will not get a raise.

Last month, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a bill that would raise the state minimum wage on Jan. 1 in each of the next three years to $9.15 in 2015, $9.60 in 2016 and $10.10 in 2017.

After the Senate vote, in a press release, Malloy condemned opposition to raising the federal minimum wage.

“Today, Republican members of the US Senate prevented an up or down vote on legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and give 28 million Americans a raise,” Malloy said. “I commend Senators Blumenthal and Murphy and Democratic leaders of the Senate for their ongoing effort to increase the minimum wage and regret that, for now, our nation has missed an opportunity to help millions of citizens lift themselves out of poverty.”

While federal efforts to raise the minimum wage are stalled, the issue is expected to be used by Democratic candidates against their GOP opponents in this year’s elections.

About Ana Radelat

Ana is a longtime Washington correspondent who has won numerous awards, including from The Associated Press and Gannett, has written for more than a dozen newspapers, including USAToday; The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger; the Shreveport (La.) Times; and the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser. She’s also been a regular contributor to other publications, including the Miami Herald and Advertising Age. Some of the stories Ana has broken focused on the strategies of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Sen. Trent Lott’s fall from power and questionable Hurricane Katrina contracts. A regular contributor to WNPR, Connecticut Public Radio, a partner of The Mirror, Ana is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism. E-mail her at aradelat@ctmirror.org.

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