Senate Passes Minimum Wage Boost
Harry Reid gets the minimum wage boost through the Senate with an overwhelming vote of 94-3, after agreeing to include small business tax breaks at a lesser level than the GOP wanted previously.
Besides increasing the minimum wage from the current $5.15 an hour, the bill would extend for five years a tax credit for businesses that hire the disadvantaged and provide expensing and depreciation advantages to small firms. The tax breaks would be paid for by closing loopholes on offshore tax shelters, by capping deferred compensation payments to corporate executives and by removing the deductibility of punitive damage payments and fines.
Senators also adopted an amendment that would bar companies that hire illegal immigrants form obtaining federal contracts. That measure was designed to encourage companies to participate in an employee identification program that can weed out undocumented workers.
The measure now moves back to the House to see if the Democratic majority will swallow the tax breaks, which I suspect they will, given how they are being paid for. Now the Senate can move on to discussing its next pay raise.