Friday, August 04, 2006

GOP Wage Cut Bill Dead For Now

On a procedural vote of 56 to 42, Senate Democrats were able to successfully prevent Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist from gaining the necessary 60 votes to cut off debate and move ahead the GOP proposal to supposedly raise wages for some Americans by 2009, but actually cuts the salary of workers such as waitresses paid by tips by as much as $3.00 an hour to as low as $2.13 an hour.

Republicans in Congress threw together this cynical bill as an attempt to lure voters with a claim they raised the minimum wage, when in reality the bill was a shell for a host of big business and wealthy interest benefits, including an inheritance tax cut. Some very bad proposals such as the wage cut for employees who garner part of their salary from tips created a public outrage and Democrats were moved to act on behalf of working people.

It is not known whether this bill will be resurrected before the election, or the issue of an actual minimum wage increase will face the new Congress after January 2007. But likely if Republicans hold control of Congress, the wages of working people will be suppressed. Only in the heat of election year hysteria were the Republicans able to agree on a minimum wage bill after leaving working Americans stuck with low wages since 1996 of just $5.15 despite terrible energy, rent and medical cost inflation. But this bill they authored was so poorly written and another big business give-away that Democrats felt that no action at this time was far better than this bill.


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