Thursday, June 22, 2006


Conservatives Still Stuck In Fantasyland

What’s going on is this: the party in power, in order to show it’s dominance (and lust for revenge on liberalism) is willing to go as far as possible to move America backward. The immigration issue has been piled on top of those old imagined wrongs. So the conservatives, perhaps being afraid of losing all control over the nation, are doing everything they possibly can to reverse modernity, and to preserve a status quo that never existed in the first place.

The immigration and voting rights isn’t all of it. The rejection of a raise in the minimum wage is pure greed. The big donors don’t want to have to pay more to the peons, and that fits just fine with the conservatives’ anger toward the liberals.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 12:00 AM

Renewal of Voting Rights Act stalls
By Charles Babington
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — House leaders abruptly canceled a vote to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act Wednesday after rank-and-file Republicans revolted over provisions that require bilingual ballots in many places and continued federal oversight of voting practices in Southern states.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 12:00 AM

Senate GOP derails minimum-wage bill
By Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Wednesday killed an effort to raise the minimum wage, but Democrats who back the measure say they will try again both in Congress and through ballot measures in several states.

The federal minimum wage has been $5.15 per hour since 1997.

On a procedural measure Wednesday, senators voted 52-46 in favor of raising the wage to $7.25 in three steps, but that was short of the 60 votes needed to move the legislation forward.

The vote came one day after House Republican leaders made clear they won't allow a vote on the issue, fearing it might pass.


He said a worker paid $5.15 an hour would earn about $10,700 a year, "almost $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three."

Kennedy noted Congress has raised its own pay for the past nine years by $31,600, while the minimum wage remained unchanged.

He said backers may try to insert a minimum-wage amendment into another spending bill before November, including a proposed congressional pay raise or a bill to reduce the estate tax, which is popular among Republicans.

Senate Republicans argued that raising the minimum wage would lead to job cuts and hurt unskilled workers. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., referred to Kennedy's proposal as "a feel-good amendment whose intention ends up having the exact opposite result."

Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., offered an alternative Wednesday that would have raised the federal wage floor by $1.10. But Kennedy said that plan would cut overtime pay and cover 4.8 million fewer workers than his proposal.

The measure failed, with 45 senators in favor and 53 opposed.

The federal minimum wage is the lowest it has been in more than 50 years relative to the cost of living, according to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute. The average full-time, minimum-wage worker earns $10,712 a year, about $900 more than the federal poverty level for one person and $2,500 less than the poverty level for a couple.

When fully phased in, the Democrats' proposal would have added almost $4,400 a year to the gross earnings of a full-time minimum-wage worker.

In the House last week, Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee — with the help of a few Republicans — succeeded in attaching a minimum- wage increase to legislation providing funding for federal social programs.

Fearing the measure would be passed with the increase intact, the GOP leadership swiftly decided to sidetrack the entire bill.

"I am opposed to it, and I think a vast majority of our [rank and file] is opposed to it," House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday.

Pressed by reporters, he said, "There are limits to my willingness to just throw anything out on the floor."

Voters and legislators have already raised the minimum wage above the federal level in 21 states, including Washington, and the District of Columbia. The minimum wage in Washington state is $7.63 an hour.

"Minimum-wage measures have really proven to be winners at the ballot box," said Christina Wilfore, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, which is helping Democrats plan for the midterm elections.

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