Mar. 7, 2005 – The Senate may vote today on competing minimum wage proposals as part of a broader bankruptcy legislation bill. A plan introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) would increase the $5.15 federal minimum wage to $7.25 over 26 months. A Republican-backed plan calls for a $1.10 increase over 18 months.
If either proposal reaches to the Senate, it will face a tough challenge from House Republicans. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) told the Associated Press that the House would pass the bankruptcy bill quickly, but only if the Senate rejected further major amendments. DeLay also told the AP that the House has no plans to vote this year on any minimum wage proposal, Republican or Democrat.
The federal minimum wage has not increased in almost eight years, while prices have steadily increased. Minimum-wage workers currently earn $10,700 -- $5,000 less than the poverty line for a family of three.