The latest exchange on raising the minimum wage in 2014 is only one chapter in this months-long political brawl – one that will see Republicans mostly on the defensive.
Fresh ammo came Tuesday from a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, which gave both advocates and opponents some statistics to crow about.
Tuesday's CBO report said that raising the minimum wage to $10.10, as U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed, would lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty, but at the cost of about 500,000 jobs.
Congressional Republicans immediately seized on the job loss number as proof that raising the minimum wage would be a bad idea. Meanwhile, Democrats focused on the number of people the increase would help.
And this is why Republicans have a tough fight ahead in the 2014 minimum wage battle – even if they succeed in preventing the increase Democrats seek…
A History of the Minimum Wage Battle: How We Got Here
First, here's how we reached this point in the minimum wage fight.
President Obama moved the 2014 minimum wage battle into the spotlight earlier this year when he began to discuss it in his speeches, including his Jan. 28 State of the Union address.
The president took matters a step further just last week. He signed an executive order that will require businesses with new or renewed federal contracts to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour by 2015.
The order will affect only about half a million workers – the constitutional limits to President Obama's executive powers prevented him from doing any more. But the action intended to set an example he wants Congress to follow, and in particular to put pressure on Congressional Republicans.
Senate Democrats have introduced a bill, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, that would raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $8.20 the first year, $9.15 the second year and to $10.10 in the third year. After that, increases would be indexed to inflation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, said he plans to bring the bill to the floor for a vote within the next few weeks.
And the Democrats have good reason to think the minimum wage increase is a winning issue for them…
About the Author
David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.