WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to take a vote on increasing the minimum wage Wednesday, despite Senate Republicans having made it known they intend to block the bill.
"Do we believe it's fair that fellow Americans who work full-time should be paid less than a livable wage?" Reid said on the Senate floor. "I hope not."
Raising the minimum wage from the current poverty level of $7.25 an hour to a living wage of $10.10 is popular with polled voters, Democrat and Republican alike, but Republicans in Congress believe it would be too expensive for employers and would rather focus on passing legislation that will create new jobs.
The bill is expected to have the support of 54 of 55 Democrats. Though Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who stated he would oppose the bill back in February, saying "I know $10.10 still isn’t a whole lot of money, but I think it’s too much, too fast,” will be absent due to emergency conditions caused by storms in his state.
That means the measure would still require six Republicans to vote in its favor, but so far only Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has said publicly he will vote for the bill.
President Obama encouraged their support, saying, “Republicans have voted more than 50 times to undermine or repeal health care for millions of Americans. They should vote at least once to raise the minimum wage for millions of working families.”
Even if the bill doesn’t pass, Democrats hope their efforts will draw voters in November’s midterm elections and have promised to continue fighting for a minimum wage increase regardless of Wednesday’s outcome.