Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Democrats Invite Bush to Showdown on Minimum Wage

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Democrats Invite Bush to Showdown on Minimum Wage

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats on Wednesday invited a showdown with President Bush over the minimum wage, agreeing to take up a House-passed measure the president has repeatedly said he will veto.

The Senate debate begins today, and the Democratic leaders hope by week's end to send to Bush legislation that would raise the minimum wage 30 cents an hour higher than the president has said he will accept.

The Democrats' version also includes a subminimum wage for newly hired people that falls far short of a six-month subminimum Bush has insisted must be part of the bill.

An aide to one leading GOP senator said there were no plans to block a vote. The bill could be approved by Friday ``and we'll get a veto,'' said the aide, who commented only on condition of not being identified further.

The Senate bill actually due for debate today is one sponsored by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. His measure would raise the hourly minimum wage from $3.35 to $4.65 by January 1992, and there would be no provision allowing a lower wage to be paid to new hires.

But Kennedy aides said he has decided to offer an amendment making his measure identical to the House bill passed two weeks ago, which has a final target of $4.55 and would allow employers to pay new entrants in the job market a subminimum for two months.

If the legislation is approved in line with the House version, there would be no need for a conference committee to resolve differences and the bill would get to Bush sooner.

A number of other amendments were expected, including a GOP attempt to substitute Bush's proposal, but lengthy argument seemed unlikely before a final vote.

``From all indications it looks good for Friday,'' said AFL-CIO lobbyist Robert McGlotten, who said Bush's repeated veto threats had all but ended any hopes by Democratic sponsors of avoiding a showdown with the president. …

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