House Dems try to force minimum wage vote

House Democrats are signing a discharge petition to force an up-or-down vote on Rep. George Miller’s bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

George Miller“Large, bipartisan majorities have repeatedly voted to raise the minimum wage when it has come to the floor in the past, and Republican and Democratic presidents alike have signed it into law,” Miller, D-Martinez, said in a news release Wednesday. “The American people are clamoring for this pay raise, and it’s well past time for congressional Republicans to hear their voices and bring H.R. 1010 up for a vote. When this comes to the floor, it will pass. We just need a vote.”

The bill would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour over three years, and then index it to inflation thereafter. It also would gradually increase the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the minimum wage; it’s now at about 29 percent.

The Congressional Budget Office reported this month that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 could lift about 900,000 U.S. workers out of poverty, but also could cost about 500,000 jobs.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has refused to bring the bill – which has 194 cosponsors, all Democrats – up for a hearing, mark-up or floor vote. Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., filed the discharge petition Wednesday; forcing consideration of the bill will require 218 signatures, so some Republicans would have to cross the aisle.

“The discharge petition I filed today is an unfortunate necessity in order to ensure action will be taken by this Congress to improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans,” Bishop said in a news release. “This is an issue that has wide support among the American public but so far has not been acted on in Washington. It is time for that to change and it is time to raise the wage.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    “The American people are clamoring for this pay raise”


    Would George Miller please just go away?

  • JohnW

    I don’t know why people can’t be happy with the same minimum wage I had in 1966 — $1.25. Oh wait. That was $6.05 in constant 1996 dollars. The current $7.25 is $4.87 in constant 1996 dollars. Heck, that’s only a drop of 20%.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Social Equality never made anybody happier. As the old Anglican hymn put it: The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate/The Good Lord He created them and ordered their estate.

  • Elwood
  • JohnW

    I’m not sure I would put maintaining the purchasing power of the minimum wage in the category of “social equality.”

  • JohnW

    Sorry, I’m highly skeptical about the Kaiser premium comparison from the 45 year old woman in SF. She claims her premium shot up from $230 to $335, with the deductible increasing from $3k to $5k.

    I have the complete Kaiser premium chart for 2010, my last year with them before Medicare. The premiums for a 45 year old female in Area 1 (includes SF) range from $178 ($50 co-pay and $5,000 deductible, no prescription or maternity coverage) to $661 for the most comprehensive plan. It’s had to believe that, four years later, she would have had a $3k deductible plan costing only $230.

    One factor is age. Based on the 2010 chart, Kaiser premiums jump about 20% for the lower priced plans going from the 40-44 to the 45-49 age bracket. So, even if the woman really did have a $230 plan, it would have jumped to about $275 when she turned 45.

    I have no doubt Obamacare did cause her premiums to increase somewhat. Just not to the extent implied by the article. Requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions, free coverage of some preventive care, elimination of life-time coverage caps, and limiting the age based premium spread to 3 times the youngest rate are factors. So, some people end up paying more and some less. But most people think those were good and fair reforms.

  • Elwood

    You’re probably right, John. You can’t trust that right wing SFChron and those dubious sources.

    It’s all a vast right wing conspiracy against our beloved leader.

  • Elwood

    Here’s another love poem to Obamacare from those right wing rats at the Huffy Post:


  • JohnW

    That is an interesting aspect of this thing. I think many of them (uninsured) are like my brother in Detroit metro, with whom I avoid conversations about politics. He’s working (same company 25 years), has good health care coverage and is a year away from Medicare eligibility. But, at one point, he was concerned that his company might have to cut back and cut loose older employees. So, the question he asked me was, “if I lose my job, do I have to sign up for Obamacare?” It never occurred to him that the purpose of Obamacare (which he thought was the actual name of a policy he would be forced to buy) was to make sure that he COULD buy insurance. Kudos to the GOP for convincing many of the uninsured that Obamacare was designed to do something TO them rather than FOR them.

    In the 2008 primary debates with Hillary, Edwards (yuk), they all had the same basic proposal for health care (including the exchanges and a public option). The big difference was that Obama opposed the individual mandate, while Hillary and Edwards were for it and pounded Obama for being against it. I’ve always though Obama should have stuck to his position once he was elected.

  • JohnW

    Victoria Colliver is a very good health care reporter. But I think she went with the headline data here and didn’t drill down much. EHealth’s comparisons have been notoriously flawed. I’ve written to her. We’ll see if she responds and what she has to say.

  • Elwood

    Obama skips national security meeting:


    And where oh where is our fearless leader? Hiding under the bed to avoid another Putin *** whooping?

  • JohnW

    Yeah, I’m sure he told his team, “not interested” and took off to go bowling or something.

  • Elwood

    Sounds about right for our commander-in-chief.