The Senate entered its sixth day of so-called debate on raising the minimum wage this morning. The Republican minority is delaying passage of the bill, which would increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15-an-hour to $7.25 by 2009, by presenting a series of amendments. All are being defeated by the Democrat majority, but Republican leadership is threatening to continue to delay passage of the bill with some 70 amendments. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, noted yesterday on the Senate floor that Republicans are deliberately delaying the passage of the bill, saying, “Do you have such disdain for hard-working Americans that you want to pile all your amendments on this? Why don’t you just hold you amendments for other pieces of legislation? … This is filibuster by delay and amendments.”
Senator Kennedy continued, rhetorically asking, “How many more billions of dollars do we have to give you, Mr. Republican? How many more dollars do we have to give you to get an increase in the minimum wage?” Minimum wage workers, the majority of whom are women, haven’t seen a raise in the past 10 years. During that same time, the Senate has given itself multiple pay raises.