The Senate cleared the way for an increase in the minimum wage Tuesday, but only with business tax breaks that House Democrats want removed.On the one hand, I hate to see a minimum wage increase tied to tax cuts for businesses. However, on the other hand, they seem to favor small business over big business, so I'm okay with that.
Final Senate passage of the legislation is expected later this week, setting the stage for a round of difficult negotiations between House and Senate Democrats over how to get the legislation to President Bush for his signature.
In a key test, the Senate voted 87-10 to end debate on the bill Tuesday, well clear of the 60 votes needed.
Earlier this month, the House passed the same increase in the wage floor — from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years — without any tax provisions. Senate Democrats tried to push through the House version last week, but failed to get the 60 votes to end debate.
It must not be too bad a deal since corporate groups aren't happy about it:
To help pay for the tax breaks, corporations no longer would be able to deduct the cost of jury verdicts or settlements in liability suits against them and their executives' tax-deferred pay packages would be capped at $1 million a year.
The bill's business critics are especially annoyed that the tax benefits would be short-term while the provisions that pay for them would alter tax law for the long-term.