Senate Republicans blocked a bill raising the minimum wage on Wednesday, but that doesn't mean the issue is going away—and voters may hold Republicans' minimum wage opposition against them.
“This is not the only time you will see the Senate vote on the minimum-wage bill this year. We’ll be back again and again, and we’ll keep trying until we get this to the president’s desk,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the bill’s sponsor.In Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, a January poll found that 57 percent of voters support a $10 minimum wage, and 42 percent say they'd be less likely to support McConnell if he voted against raising the minimum wage. Which is exactly what he did Wednesday.
In New Hampshire, a January poll found that 60 percent of voters support raising the minimum wage to $10. Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, now running for Senate in New Hampshire, ducked and weaved when asked if he would have voted for the bill:
“I haven’t read the bill,” Brown said yesterday. “I certainly would be willing to be part of the conversation, as I have been before.” [...]So he hasn't read the bill (pssst ... it raises the minimum wage to $10.10) and he's not saying no, but the "everyone" at the table should "especially" include not the millions of workers trying to pay their bills on poverty wages but the people paying the poverty wages. And then he changed the subject.
“I’ve supported a minimum wage increase before. It’s something that I think needs to be periodically reviewed, but it’s really important to make sure that everyone’s at the table, especially people who are hiring and growing,” he said.
With just one Republican voting to move the minimum wage bill forward, rinse and repeat in basically every competitive Senate race in the country. Raising the minimum wage is popular. Senate Republicans voted it down. And Democrats are going to do their best to be sure voters notice—which, politically speaking, isn't a bad position to be in.