It’s more than just Sen. Max Baucus looking to add business lobby favors to a minimum wage hike. According to Congressional Quarterly, Senate Dem leaders Richard Durbin and Chuck Schumer are opting to try to placate conservatives instead of standing up to them:
“The House bill … includes no sweeteners for small businesses, which many Republicans back, and no amendments will be allowed on the floor.
“That strategy won’t work in the Senate, so Democratic leaders are working with key Republicans in efforts to get the necessary 60 votes to advance the legislation in that chamber.
“‘It is a little different world,’ said Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., noting the 51-49 majority his party holds. ‘We anticipate that some proposal to help business is likely to pass. We would rather put our imprint on it, try to put those tax advantages for small businesses in Democratic terms.’ … But Durbin would not say which proposed alternatives would be acceptable.
“Durbin and other key Democrats said they prefer provisions that would give relief to businesses that employ workers at the minimum wage.
“‘You just want to make sure they are consonant with the goal of minimum wage,’ said New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer. ‘Making it easier for small business to hire workers, pay for health care of workers, things like that. We are exploring it. But it should be in theme with the minimum wage, not just reducing the tax rates of all small businesses whether they hire people with the minimum wage or not.'”
Granted, these guys are playing defense and trying to minimize damage more than they are flat selling out.
But with 80% of Americans, including 65% of Republicans, backing a raise in the minimum wage, this is a time for offense.