As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

First 100 Hours, Meet the Second 1000 Days

That's what it takes to get the same amount of work done in the Senate. With legislative filibusters it takes 60 votes to move anything forward. That's just a fact of life. And Republicans in the Senate still hate poor people enough to deny them the most basic of living standards.

Democrats' promise of a quick increase in the minimum wage ran aground Wednesday in the Senate, where lawmakers are insisting it include new tax breaks for restaurants and other businesses that rely on low-pay workers.

On a 54-43 vote, Democrats lost an effort to advance a House-passed bill that would lift the pay floor from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour without any accompanying tax cut. Opponents of the tax cut needed 60 votes to prevail.

The vote sent a message to House Democrats and liberals in the Senate that only a hybrid tax and minimum wage package could succeed in the Senate. But any tax breaks in the bill would put the Senate on a collision course with the House, which is required by the Constitution to initiate tax measures.

Every Democratic Senator present voted for the bill. (Tim Johnson and Tom Carper were not there.) Even Lieberman did the right thing. But the Republicans held mostly firm (5 defections) in demanding that businesses exact their pound of flesh so that poor people can make an honest day's pay. It's disgusting.

But that's the way the Senate works. And to those 43 who voted NO, they should understand that the campaign commercials are already being cut, and they will be portrayed as heartless for holding up poor people to steal cash for their rich contributors.

...adding, the tax package that Republicans want to add, as I read it, is not horrible. It's the symbolism of not being able to give those most needy in the society even one thing without it being tied to the wealthy and powerful.