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Will Republicans Find Motivation on Minimum Wage after November?

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Laura ClawsonAs congressional Republicans stand in the way of a higher minimum wage, the New York Timeshighlights a pattern from the last three minimum wage increases:

But the story of recent increases underscores the indispensable ingredient [Obama] so far lacks: a Republican leader strongly motivated to make a deal over the party’s philosophical objections. […]The common thread of the last three wage increases is a president of one party forging agreement with a Congress controlled by the other. “Our system works best” for bipartisan compromise with that alignment, Mr. Fratto said.

That was true in 1989, when President George H.W. Bush cut a deal with a Congress controlled by Democrats; in 1996, when congressional Republicans came out of a government shutdown as the losers, needing to do something to regain momentum; and in 2007, when President George W. Bush suddenly found himself facing a Democratic Congress and terrible approval ratings. In those cases, the Republicans decided it was in their best interests to cut a deal and get something done.

So, this story implies, maybe if Republicans keep the House and take the Senate this November, they’ll decide it’s in their political interest to raise the minimum wage. The problem is, you don’t need to be romanticizing the Republicans of 20 or 30 years ago to believe that the extremists of today are likely to be a different story.

This article was originally printed on the Daily Kos on April 11, 2014.  Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is the labor editor at the Daily Kos.


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