Spines Stiffening?

Bill Scher

Today, the NY Times checks in on the minimum wage battle, and we may be seeing a little movement towards a push for a clean bill without business tax giveaways.

The piece notes that after the Senate passes its bill with such tax favors, two different procedural things could happen: “the Senate could hold on to the bill, leaving it to leaders from both chambers to work out the differences. Or, it could send the bill to the House, where the House could strip out the tax breaks and send it back to the Senate for a new vote.”

In theory, the tax provisions could be stripped in either scenario, but in the latter, the House is forcing the matter.

As noted here previously, NYT says House Dems remain split how to proceed, but indicates that the overriding sentiment is for a clean bill.

Aides to some House leaders say they would be willing to allow some of the tax breaks. But others, including Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, are insisting that they will not concede any tax cuts.

House Democrats say that by forcing a vote on a clean bill they would force Senate Republicans to put themselves on record as opposing a wage increase, which was a popular campaign issue in the midterm elections.

And while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesperson expressed skepticism that a clean bill would clear their chamber, another Senate Dem leader shifted towards standing on principle.

Vice-Chair of the Dem Conference, Sen. Chuck Schumer, earlier showed support for tax breaks, but today’s NYT reports:

…Schumer…believed the Senate might go along if the House sent back a bill stripped of the tax breaks. “This is good cover for the Republicans,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘I’m not against a minimum wage increase, I just want tax breaks for small businesses.’

“But when the choice is yes or no because the House did something out of our control,” he added, “I think we’ll get more of them on our side.”

That’s exactly the right attitude. Perhaps the increased attention from the netroots is pushing our leaders in the right direction.

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