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March 08, 2005
Senate Rejects Minimum Wage Increase

The Senate voted yesterday to reject competing proposals for raising the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour, USA Today reports.

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Democrats had proposed raising the minimum wage to $7.25 in three increments over 26 months. The Senate defeated the measure with 46 votes for it and 49 against it. The measure needed 60 votes to advance, the newspaper notes.

Republicans proposed lifting the minimum wage to 6.25 in two increments over 18 months. The Senate rejected the measure by an even wider margin, with 38 for it and 61 against it.

The Republican proposal had controversial elements, including a provision that would have allowed employers to offer flex-time by raising the threshold for determining if overtime pay is owed from 40 hours in one workweek to 80 hours in two workweeks. In addition, a provision would have exempted more businesses from the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Democrat proposal and the Republican proposal were attached as amendments to bankruptcy legislation.

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