On July 28, Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press reported that:
Republican leaders were confident … that they can push through the House the first minimum wage increase in a decade, along with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates.
Today, Joel Havemann of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Republicans’ odd bedfellows made it through the House, though the measure faces Democratic opposition in the Senate.
Why have the Republicans done this? To undermine their Democratic opponents in an election year. In this session, Congressional Democrats both renewed their perennial call for an increase in the minimum wage and fought a spirited and apparently successful campaign against estate tax repeal.
Then, writes Havemann, as “Democratic strategists were preparing to use the [minimum wage] this fall in their bid to wrest control of Congress from the GOP … 50 mostly moderate Republicans last week appealed to their leaders to act.
The group threatened to vote against adjourning for the August recess until their party’s leaders agreed to give them a chance to vote on a minimum-wage increase.
On Friday afternoon, GOP House leaders relented. They announced they had tacked it onto a 180-page bill that would cut the estate tax and extend a host of temporary tax cuts — moves that Senate Democrats have made clear they would block through a filibuster if necessary.
Neatly turning the tables on the Dems.
Havemann offers quotes that offer some hope that, contrary to form, the Dems will find the gumption to call the Republicans out on their cynical manipulation.
Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, called it “the kind of cynical ploy that makes Americans lose faith in their government.”
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, accused the Republicans of a “political stunt” that insulted Americans, especially the 7 million who earn minimum wage.
And, given the tone of Havemann’s and Taylor’s coverage, we might also hope that the media will pick the right side in this fight. Fingers crossed.