March 3, 2010 |
Rep. Joe Sestak's payroll has emerged as a potential wedge issue in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, with Sen. Arlen Specter demanding that Sestak explain why a majority of his campaign employees appear to earn less than the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. "How can you make laws if you don't follow them yourself?" Specter said in a news release yesterday. "Joe needs to answer a basic question: Has he obeyed the state and federal minimum-wage laws?" According to Specter's campaign, Federal Election Commission reports show that 10 of the 16 Sestak campaign workers employed during the last three months of 2009 received less than $7.25 an hour, based on the assumption of a 40-hour workweek.
June 12, 1996 |
Rep. Amory Houghton, a Republican from upstate New York, is a warm man, quick to smile and slow to criticize a colleague. He is the definition of patrician Republicanism - his family founded the Corning Glass Works in 1851 and he was Corning's chairman and CEO for 22 years - but he's of the patrician school that disdains pomp and shows of elitism. He speaks warmly of unions and respectfully of the rights of workers. In an office nearby sits Rep. Jack Quinn, also a Republican, from the district next door to Houghton's.
March 8, 2005 |
The Senate yesterday defeated two proposals to raise the minimum wage, in a test of muscle over what is expected to be a yearlong struggle to increase an income floor that has gone unchanged for nine years. A Democratic proposal to raise the hourly rate from $5.15 to $7.25 in three steps of 70 cents each over the next 26 months failed, 49-46. A Republican proposal to increase it to $6.25 in two steps of 55 cents apiece over 18 months also failed, 61-38. The proposals came as amendments to legislation to overhaul the nation's bankruptcy laws, a priority bill with financial institutions and credit-card companies.
May 23, 1996 |
Prospects for an increase in the minimum wage were clouded yesterday when House Republican leaders backed a move to excuse most small businesses from paying it. As the House began debating a measure to boost the wage, in two annual steps, to $5.15 per hour from $4.25, GOP strategists put forward an amendment that would exempt two-thirds of all businesses from having to pay the wage. Under the amendment, many of the 3.7 million jobs that pay the minimum wage would be exempted from minimum-wage and overtime laws.
May 24, 1996 |
The $4.25-an-hour minimum wage may soon be history. The House voted yesterday to increase it to $4.75 an hour on July 1 and to $5.15 an hour one year later. The action came after Democrats and moderate Republicans fended off an effort by conservative Republicans to exempt many small businesses from the law. The Senate must still vote on the measure, which has been bottled up there in a partisan dispute, but the House vote increases pressure on the Senate to act. An estimated 3.7 million hourly workers now make the minimum wage, and an additional 7.7 million workers earn less than $5.15 an hour.
February 4, 1995 |
Although it faces likely death in the Republican-majority Congress, President Clinton yesterday proposed raising the minimum wage by 90 cents over two years, to $5.15 per hour. "The only way to grow the middle class and shrink the underclass is to make work pay," Clinton said. "And in terms of real buying power, the minimum wage will be at a 40-year low next year if we do not raise it above $4.25 an hour. " The proposal's likely fate was symbolized when not a single Republican lawmaker - despite weeks of courting by administration officials - joined Clinton at a ceremony in the frosty air of the White House Rose Garden.
July 9, 1996 |
After months of partisan debate, the Senate will vote today on a hotly disputed bill to boost the minimum wage by 90 cents an hour. Before the showdown vote, however, senators will pass judgment on a controversial GOP-backed amendment, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Christopher S. Bond, that President Clinton has denounced as a "poison pill. " Clinton has said its adoption would trigger his veto, a threat reiterated yesterday by Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, who called the amendment "mean-spirited" and said it was meant to deny the wage increase to millions of low-income workers.
June 21, 2006
APPARENTLY, everyone in America, except politicians, is immune from the rising cost of living. Last week, Congress voted itself a pay raise to cope with that upward pressure on personal expenses. That increase, $3,300 a year, will boost lawmakers' pay to more than $168,000. Yet the same lawmakers have refused to raise the minimum wage for 10 years. (Oh, by the way, during that 10-year period, the pay for members of Congress has gone up by over $31,000 - close to three times the amount someone on minimum wage will make in a year.
March 17, 1992 |
In the first partisan showdown of the new legislature, the Republican- controlled Assembly voted yesterday to cancel a scheduled increase in the minimum wage for farm workers and cut it in half for other employees. The wage is scheduled to rise by 80 cents to $5.05 an hour April 1, which would make it the second-highest minimum wage in the nation. One of the bills approved yesterday would cut the increase to 40 cents next month, and add another 40 cents on April 1, 1993. Although the voting followed two and a half hours of impassioned debate, yesterday's action probably will turn out to be only symbolic, given Gov. Florio's apparent support for the pay increase.
June 3, 1996 |
Congress is likely to send President Clinton several major pieces of legislation over the next few weeks, despite the election rhetoric that has stymied action on many issues. Key figures in both parties agree that compromise bills to boost the minimum wage, reduce the federal gasoline tax, slap tighter controls on illegal immigration, and make it easier to obtain and keep health insurance are within reach. Some even say that a welfare-reform bill is a tantalizing step away from adoption - one that the President would embrace and celebrate as a triumph of bipartisanship.