Sen. Susan Collins is reportedly looking for compromise on the minimum wage—if Democrats accept a smaller increase than they've been looking for and give Republicans a variety of other sweeteners, Collins would try to bring a few members of her party on board. There are just a few small problems with that: Democrats don't want to give things away in exchange for a minimum wage that still leaves working families in poverty, and there's no real reason to believe Collins could get enough Republicans to support such a plan.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not negotiating down:
“No, there are none. Nope,” Reid told reporters following a minimum-wage rally with union members and other Democratic leaders. “The reason we picked that number, $10.10, gets you out of poverty — $10 doesn’t. $10.05 doesn’t. We didn’t pick that number just to be fun.” The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.And the allegedly semi-moderate-at-some-times Republicans who are supporting the Senate's unemployment aid compromise are firmly against raising the minimum wage:
“I would not be going along with a compromise. If that came to a vote, I would oppose it,” said Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.), one of five Republicans who last week crafted a bipartisan deal on unemployment benefits.$7.95 an hour works out to just over $16,500 for a year of full-time work, so Ohio has not exactly licked the problem of people working hard but still living in poverty. And if the minimum wage was truly left to the states, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana would have no minimum wage at all.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who spearheaded the negotiations on unemployment assistance, said the minimum wage is an issue best left to the states instead of the federal government. [...]
Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), another centrist Republican who supported this week’s agreement on unemployment benefits, said he would not be inclined to support a minimum wage compromise.
“I don’t think so. Ohio has a higher minimum wage actually indexed to inflation,” he said.
Ohio’s minimum wage is $7.95 an hour.
So Democrats have absolutely no reason to compromise down, engaging in a still-futile effort to get Republicans to agree to even a tiny, poverty-level increase. Better to organize around the right policy and fight to make that happen in the long run than show weakness, then fail, in the short run.