The Senate is scheduled to vote today on increasing the minimum wage. And you don't need to have mystical powers to confidently predict that the bill will not pass. It's math. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour has support from small business owners and a strong majority of voters. It has majority support in the Senate, too—but what it doesn't have is enough votes to break a Republican filibuster.
The bill's passage would require six Republican votes. Democrat Mark Pryor won't be voting because he's in his home state of Arkansas after tornadoes swept through the state, but in any case, he's attempting to split the baby by supporting a small state minimum wage increase by ballot initiative while opposing a federal minimum wage increase. Senate Republicans are more solid on where they stand—squarely against American workers, while trying to pretend otherwise:
Citing those job loss figures, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday, "When it comes to so many of their proposals, Washington Democrats appear to prioritize the desires of the far left over the needs of the middle class.""Those job loss figures" are the CBO report that predicted raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would increase income to families below the poverty threshold by $5 billion, lift 900,000 people out of poverty, and increase income to millions of middle-class families. The CBO also used intentionally conservative assumptions to predict, against economic consensus and against numerous studies of states and cities that have actually raised their minimum wages, that it would cost around 500,000 jobs. That's what McConnell is referring to, while discounting both the contradictory consensus of economists and the billions in added income and reduction of poverty the CBO itself predicted. In other words, to McConnell, lifting people out of poverty is a "desire of the far left." Billions in added net income going to middle-class families does not count as a "need of the middle class," to McConnell.
But the CBO report might yield another clue to why McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans are so opposed to raising the minimum wage: The one group predicted to lose income if the minimum wage is raised to $10.10 is the top group the CBO examined. Those making six or more times the poverty threshold stand to see their income go down by, on average, 0.4 percent. And if there's one thing we know about today's Republicans, it's that 0.4 percent of the income of rich people matters a lot more to them than making sure that work pays enough to lift families out of poverty.