Minimum Wage Debate

While the president and the Democratic Congress may not agree on a new strategy for Iraq, one issue where they may find common ground is raising the federal minimum wage.

The last increase came a decade ago when President Clinton signed into law, a minimum wage of $5.15 but the new Democratic Congress wants to increase it to $7.25 over the next two years.

“If you are one of these folks who’s unfortunate enough to be dependent on the buying power of the minimum wage, you’re 20-25% worse off than you were ten years ago, the last time Congress addressed this issue,” said Jared Berstein, with the Economic Policy Institute.

In the last decade, Republicans have defeated any measure to increase the wage and it may prove difficult again as Democrats and Republicans are split over the increase.

Senate Republicans want to attach a small business tax break as part of the increase. With inflation, the current minimum wage is equivalent to $3.95.