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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-28-06 06:12 AM
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House to Vote on Increase in Minimum Wage
Negotiations in Search of Pre-Recess Compromise on Reform of Private Pension Laws Break Off

House Republican leaders, bowing to pressure from their politically embattled moderates, agreed to seek a vote on raising the minimum wage, but House and Senate negotiations on a broad overhaul of the nation's private pension laws broke up last night in intraparty acrimony.

GOP leaders were scrambling yesterday to bolster a thin list of legislative accomplishments before the House recesses tonight for a five-week summer break. But a minimum-wage deal was far from certain, and pension legislation was near collapse. Last night's struggles underscored the divisions in Republican ranks that leaders had hoped to paper over before the August recess.

"We're getting close," insisted Republican Conference Chairman Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). But, she added, "we want to have something that could actually become law."

The pension package was close, but key Senate Republicans -- seeking to prevent a popular package of tax-cut extensions from being stripped out of the pension bill -- called for a public vote last night on the tax measures' fate. House Republicans had wanted to attach the tax provisions instead to a contentious measure permanently and sharply paring back the estate tax. But House GOP negotiators boycotted the public session, infuriating the senators and jeopardizing a pension bill that has been under fitful negotiation for eight months.

"We should be rising above politics," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "It is long past time that we get the job of strengthening America's retirement security done -- and get it done right."

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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-28-06 11:55 AM
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1. House Slates Vote on Raising Minimum Wage
Edited on Fri Jul-28-06 11:56 AM by 54anickel


House Republicans have yet to unveil the specifics of the bill and have been mulling what to add to it to ease the sting on small businesses and other constituencies such as the restaurant lobby. GOP aides and business lobbyists said no final decisions had been made about the specifics of the add-ons. Lawmakers were hoping to vote on the bill by Friday night.

Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said Thursday that GOP leaders may attach a proposal passed last year that would make it easier for small businesses and the self-employed to band together and buy health insurance plans for employees at a lower cost.

That idea was blasted as a "poison pill" by Democrats and labor unions. The small business health insurance bill exempts new "association health plans" from state regulations requiring insurers to cover treatments such as mental health and maternity care. And opponents fear they would offer inferior prescription drug benefits.

Opponents of the idea also worry that the new health plans would skim healthier workers from traditional plans, thereby increasing the costs and pressures on those plans.

"It's outrageous the Republican Congress can't simply help poor people without doing something for their wealthy contributors," said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.


Lawmakers fear being pounded with 30-second campaign ads over the August recess that would tie Congress' upcoming $3,300 pay increase with Republicans' refusal to raise the minimum wage.


Watch for another screwing of the American working class in those "unveiled specifics". :eyes: :hurts:
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-28-06 02:40 PM
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2. Here it is - Republicans tie minimum wage to tax cut (Bastards!)

WASHINGTON - Republican leaders are willing to allow the first minimum wage increase in a decade but only if it's coupled with a cut in future inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, congressional aides said Friday.

A package GOP leaders planned to bring to a vote Friday or Saturday in the House also would renew several popular tax breaks, including a research and development credit for businesses, and deductions for college tuition and state sales taxes, said a spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner.

The wage would increase from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, phased in over the next three years, said Kevin Madden, the aide to Boehner, an Ohio Republican.

The maneuver is aimed at defusing the wage hike as a campaign issue for Democrats while using its popularity to spur enactment of the Republican Party's long-sought goal of permanently cutting taxes on millionaires' estates.

The Senate could take it up next week before leaving on a monthlong recess.

"It's going to be one hell of a rumpus," predicted Eric Ueland, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's chief of staff.

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