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April 24, 2007
Deal Could Pave Way for Minimum Wage Increase

House-Senate negotiators have reached a deal on tax breaks to accompany legislation that would raise the minimum wage.

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Earlier this year, both the House and Senate approved raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over a period of 26 months. However, the legislation stalled in Congress after the Senate packaged the increase with tax breaks. The House version of the bill initially included no tax cuts. The House added some tax breaks later, but they were much smaller than the Senate's.

Negotiators from the House and Senate agreed earlier this week to a package of $4.8 billion in tax breaks to accompany the minimum wage increase.

President Bush has said he supports increasing the minimum wage as long as it is tied to tax breaks for small businesses. He had backed the Senate's version of the legislation.

Thirty-two states have approved minimum wages above the federal level, which has stayed at $5.15 since 1997. Ten states have minimum wage laws that tie future increases to inflation.

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