Senate Multimillionares Vote To Block Minimum Wage Hike

After repeated delays by conservatives, the Senate voted 87–10 today to end debate on legislation that will raise the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, from $5.15 to $7.25. The bill will move to a full vote in the next several days.

Ten right-wing senators stuck together and voted to further delay raising the minimum wage:

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)

As ThinkProgress detailed in a report last year, at least two of those 10 senators — Gregg and Isakson — are multimillionaires with a combined fortune of up to $35.5 million. Despite their enormous personal wealth, they refuse to grant even a small raise to the nearly 8 million Americans who live on $5.15 an hour:

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)TOTAL HOLDINGS: Between $3,402,000 and $10,055,000

HIGHLIGHTS: In Oct. 2005, Gregg won $853,000 in the Powerball lottery. He owns between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 in Fleet Bank, as well as between $250,000 and $500,000 in Bristol Myers stock and between $50,000 and $100,000 in Exxon and Verizon stock.

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KEY QUOTE: “If you start losing jobs because you raise minimum wage too quickly, too fast that small employers can’t afford it, that’s going to have an effect on peoples’ opportunity to work.” [Gregg, 6/21/06]

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)TOTAL HOLDINGS: Between $7,631,000 and $25,515,000

HIGHLIGHTS: Isakson owns between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 in both Wachovia and Riverside Bank stock. He also holds 12 acres of Georgia real estate valued between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000.

KEY QUOTE: “Robert Reich, once observed ‘most minimum wage workers aren’t poor.’ He is right.” [Isakson, 6/20/06]

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