"Congress is going to have earn its raise by putting American workers first: A raise for workers before a raise for Congress," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Reid refused to spell out exactly how he will block a $3,300 pay raise scheduled for January 1 for members of Congress, who currently earn $165,200 annually. He said with 40 Senate Democrats backing the maneuver, "We can stop anything they (Republicans) try to do with a congressional pay raise."
Democrats in the House and Senate want the $5.15-per-hour federal minimum wage, in place since 1997, to rise in 70-cent increments to $7.25 by January 1, 2009.
This is a long overdue move by the Dems., and is a winning issue. I'd be a lot more impressed by both Sen. Reid's "boldness" and the Left blogosphere's support if Sen. Hillary Clinton hadn't already proposed a much stronger measure back in April:
Washington, DC – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that she will introduce legislation when Congress returns to link Congressional pay increases to increases in the federal minimum wage. In addition to gradually raising the federal minimum wage, the bill would also require the federal minimum wage to be increased by the same percentage amount as Congressional salaries every year.
This is stronger than what Reid said, because it introduces a permanent indexing of the minimum wage, not an election year stunt. But acknowledging that Sen. Clinton is pushing a much more agressive and progressive measure that directly benefits working class Americans, more agressive than anything blogosphere darling Russ Feingold is proposing, would cause "progressive" heads to explode all over the blogosphere.
Sen. Clinton is not even in my top three of preferred presidantial candidates, but I trust her liberal credentials more than I trust those of the dominant left bloggers. She's actually done the work.