the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

June 27, 2006

Reid Says Minimum Wage Increase Must Come Before Congressional Pay Raise


Harry Reid isn’t going to let last week’s defeat of a minimum wage increase be the Senate’s the final word on the subject. He says Democrats will block an upcoming congressional pay raise if necessary to force the issue:

“Congress is going to have earn its raise by putting American workers first: A raise for workers before a raise for Congress,” said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Reid refused to spell out exactly how he will block a $3,300 pay raise scheduled for January 1 for members of Congress, who currently earn $165,200 annually. He said with 40 Senate Democrats backing the maneuver, “We can stop anything they (Republicans) try to do with a congressional pay raise.”

The Carpetbagger is delighted to see this move, and so am I. You’d almost think Reid was trying to give Amy Sullivan material for the “brilliant” side of Thursday’s “Democrats: As Lame as You Think or Secretly Brilliant?”

In the earlier vote, all the Democrats stuck together (except Rockefeller, who was absent recovering from surgery) and were joined by 8 Republicans, 4 of whom are up for reelection this year. All the other Republicans (except for Shelby, who was also absent) voted against the increase, and the amendment failed 52-46 — it required a 3/5 vote because of a procedural rule (something oddly missing from the Senate vote page).

Ten Republicans voted against the increase even though they’re up for reelection. In rough order of decreasing vulnerability, they are

Let’s hope their Democratic opponents ask them during the campaign why they opposed to giving a raise to the lowest-paid workers among us.


  1. It will be very hard for anyone who voted against this to convey why they did so. I hope you’re right and those up for reelection are pressed on it. This might be a sign of sanity emerging from the Democratic caucus, but Reid still got it wrong on flag desecration, so who knows?

    I’ve always believed that Congressional COLAs should be pegged to minimum wage; if one goes up, so does the other. After getting it raised to an acceptable level, that’ll hopefully be the next step.

    —doubtful • 5:59 pm, June 29

  2. How would you respond to the position that an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Creditwould be a much more effective and equitable way of helping the working poor than an increase in the minimum wage?

    David F. Prenatt, Jr.12:41 am, July 2

  3. David, I think if we’re going to have a minimum wage it needs to be adjusted to keep its buying power over time. Expanding the EITC might be a good idea too, but I’d need to see what was proposed to make up for the revenue loss.

    Keith9:41 pm, July 3

  4. Minimum wage hikes are good politics, but quesionable policy. By increasing the
    costs of hiring another worker, the minimum wage deters firms from hiring
    new employees and laying off fewer employees. However, the benefit of the
    minimum wage is that it forces employers to pay a higher wage to workers
    who are absolutely necessary. Furthermore, it will also encourage those who
    are not currently seeking employment to seek employment. Another nice benefit
    of the minimum wage is that it forces retailers to put more productive employees
    in customer service positions, thereby reduing the number of morons I have to
    interact with at fast food restaurants and other low-brow establishments.

    Considering, unemployment is low, and real wages have been stagnant an inrease
    in the minimum wage is not economically unreasonable at this point in time.

    Furthermore, in the current economy there are increasing numbers of potential
    workers who are not looking for work, who may be motivated to look if the
    minimum wage is increased.

    —Jason Bradfield • 10:19 am, July 6

  5. Keith:

    Please allow me to direct your attention to a paper published by the Department of Health and Human Services that summarizes the pros and cons of the minimum wage. In pertinent part, this paper states:

    “Most research suggests that moderate minimum wages increases do not reduce poverty rates. [Italics emphasis in original.] . . . [M]inimum wage hikes increased poverty exits but also increased the probability that previously non-poor families entered poverty. . . . Overall the tradeoffs created by minimum wage increases, more closely resemble income redistribution among low-income families than income redistribution from high-to-low-income families.”

    David F. Prenatt, Jr.11:37 am, July 13

post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

Upcoming Events

See information on the revived DC chapter (2012).

DCDL Member Blogs

DCDL Speaker Links

DC Links

Liberal (Mostly) Blogs

Liberal Groups

Internal Links


Drinking Liberally

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


Search Blog



46 queries. 0.364 seconds