What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Corporate Tax Breaks, General : Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 (H.R. 2), Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) amendment to afford states the flexibility to determine minimum wage and eliminate a federally mandated minimum wage/On passage of the amendment
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Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 (H.R. 2), Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) amendment to afford states the flexibility to determine minimum wage and eliminate a federally mandated minimum wage/On passage of the amendment
senate Roll Call 24     Jan 24, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) to legislation increasing the minimum wage. In his words, Allard's amendment would allow "states the rights and flexibility to determine a minimum wage that works for them."

The bill Allard was seeking to change would increase the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over the next two years, the first increase in a decade. Critics of Allard's proposal pointed out that it would effectively eliminate the federal minimum wage entirely and leave minimum wage laws up to the states.

Allard said, "In its current form, the bill attempts to blindly blanket the nation with a new federal minimum wage without regard to unique economic conditions of each individual state."

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who led his party's debate of the legislation, said the Allard amendment would "repeal the minimum wage," a move he found unacceptable.

Kennedy continued: "It is true that the existing minimum wage is $5.15 an hour and a number of states have gone above this, but the concept of the minimum wage was that it was going to be a minimum payment, a minimum standard. What was accepted at the time of the minimum wage is that in this country, we didn't want to accelerate a rush to the bottom so that we would have competition in the various states to pay the lowest possible wages - sweat labor - in order to try to attract industries into those particular states, but to provide a minimum standard."

In the end, the vast majority of the Senate agreed with Kennedy and rejected Allard's amendment by a vote of 28-69. Democrats unanimously opposed it, and 20 Republicans voted against it. Thus, a bill to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over the next two years went forward without a provision that would have eliminated the federally mandated minimum wage entirely.

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