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Could Increasing Minimum Wage Save Democrats In Next Election?

Will the push to increase the minimum wage in key political states help the Democrats in upcoming midterm elections? Ballot measures to increase the minimum wage are being pushed in four states, including Massachusetts and Idaho, while legislative campaigns are being planned in other states including Illinois.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, which has remained unchanged since 2009. Obama proposed raising the monthly rate to $9 per hour last February, while the White House also endorsed a separate measure by Sen. Tom Harkin, which would push the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in 2015 over several increments. However, neither of these proposals have gained traction in the White House; House speaker John Boehner has said that the proposals will result in fewer jobs.

Five states have currently raised their minimum wages this year, all of which were throughout the East coast and New England. New Jersey became the most recent state to approve a minimum wage increase last week, raising the state hourly rate by $1 to $8.25.

A new poll released this week showed that 76 percent of Americans say they would increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour, up from 71 percent in March. However, it’s the House-led GOP that is mainly preventing this from taking place. New York Rep. Steve Israel said that “the refusal to increase the minimum wage is just one of the ways House Republicans have inflicted harm on the economy and hurt people’s pocketbooks.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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