What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, General : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Labor/Vote on Amendment to Raise Minimum Wage and Cut Business Taxes (2005 senate Roll Call 27)
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S. 256. Bankruptcy/Labor/Vote on Amendment to Raise Minimum Wage and Cut Business Taxes
senate Roll Call 27     Mar 07, 2005
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

In this vote, the Senate defeated an amendment offered by Rick Santorum (R-PA) to S. 256, a Republican-sponsored bill to alter federal bankruptcy rules, that would have raised the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 per hour over a period of 18 months, and also would have cut taxes for small businesses. Santorum intended his amendment to serve as a substitute for one offered by Edward Kennedy (D-MA) that would have raised the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour and left business taxes untouched. Democrats, including Progressives, opposed this amendment, asserting that it "gives half of the increase to minimum wage workers with one hand and then--listen to me--takes away minimum wage, overtime, and equal pay rights from over 10 million workers with the other hand." (Kennedy.) Santorum, on behalf of many Republicans, countered that the higher rate proposed by the Kennedy amendment would "pric[e] a lot of people out of the workforce," and that his amendment exempted more businesses from the minimum-wage requirement, which he said was necessary for small businesses to stay open. Because most Republicans were anxious to keep the bankruptcy bill "clean," meaning free from most amendments (due to the fact that the House had already indicated it would not accept a bankruptcy bill laden with amendment language), a number of Republicans joined with all of the Democrats, including Progressives, in opposing the amendment. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 38 to 61. Thus, because Kennedy's minimum-wage amendment was also defeated, the combination of votes meant that no raise in the minimum wage was added to the bankruptcy bill, but the limitations on workers' rights and the business tax cuts proposed by the Santorum amendment were also not included in the bill.

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