- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2013

If Senate Democrats have their way, businesses and employers around the nation will soon have to pay workers a minimum $10.10 per hour.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin is heading the push for a new federal minimum wage, and has scheduled a lunch meeting to set forth the path to bill’s passage for this Thursday, The Hill reported.

His proposal calls for the wage hike in three increments of 95 cents by 2015. It also calls for a hike in minimum wage – to 70 percent of the standard – for those who work primarily for tips, The Hill said.

Some Democrats are balking at the idea – and even President Obama hasn’t come out in support of Mr. Harkin’s recommendation, The Hill said. But labor groups are on board and the idea is likely to resonate with workers around the country who are feeling the pinch from a still-sluggish economy.

The lunchtime meeting is aimed at gauging the level of support among Democrats, and seeing who might be convinced to get on board.

“There are different views on proceeding to it, as an amendment, as a direct bill, how do you do it,” Mr. Harkin said, The Hill reported. “That’s what we’ve got to figure out. … There are some who may want to add something to it, put something else on it, which other people would not want.”

But Mr. Harkin’s view was clear, The Hill said: “I think people deserve a clean-cut bill. Raise the minimum wage.”

The bill has a companion House measure from Rep. George Miller, who serves in the House Education and Workforce Committee.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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