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Yesterday, Arkansas's conservative Democratic senator Mark Pryor, who faces re-election this year, came out against raising the minimum wage.

“I know $10.10 still isn’t a whole lot of money, but I think it’s too much, too fast,” Pryor, who is seeking a third Senate term, said in an interview at the Capitol. “I’m not supportive of that.”
Fittingly, the Bloomberg article quoted above refers to Pryor as a "Wal-Mart ally." He cares more about the Waltons than his constituents.

Since raising the minimum wage has often been cited as part of the Democrats' 2014 agenda, particularly (but not entirely) as an election issue, I decided to see which members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate are actually on board.

In March of last year, Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. The bill would  raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over a two year period and then index it to inflation. The bill would also raise the tipped wage gradually until it becomes 70 percent of the minimum wage.

The last time that Congress raised the minimum wage was in 2007, with the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. Obama has never signed a single minimum wage increase into law. The only increase that occurred during his presidency was in July 2009, the last increment of the 2007 bill.

Harkin's bill has 33 co-sponsors (32 Democrats plus Bernie). Mo Cowan, the interim senator from MA, and the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) are no longer in the Senate. Consequently, there are 32 members of the Democratic caucus currently giving their official support to a higher minimum wage.

There are then 23 members of the Senate Democratic caucus who haven't signed on. You should ask them why.

Max Baucus (D-MT)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Angus King (I-ME)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Mark Warner (D-VA)

Several of them are up for re-election this year: Booker, Hagan, Landrieu, Pryor, Shaheen, Udall, Udall, and Warner.

Now, two of the people (Booker and Reid) who haven't signed on to the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 have signed on to a similar--but not as good--bill. That's the Minimum Wage Fairness Act of 2013. Tom Harkin introduced that bill in November. It differs from the prior bill in that it contains several business tax incentives (See Section 3 of the text). That bill represents a premature capitulation to the business community and, presumably, Republicans. But it won't neutralize Republican or business opposition. It's just a giveaway.

When you call your senators--and you should, you should focus on the former bill. That's the more meaningful and progressive of the two.

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