The Senate Democratic leadership plans to introduce a bill that could raise the minimum wage as high as $10.10 an hour. And now, that plan has President Obama's support. The bill, discussed over a closed-door lunch among Democratic Senators on Thursday, could make its congressional debut before Thanksgiving. Earlier on Thursday, Senator Dick Durbin indicated that the White House was supportive of a $10 minimum wage proposal, and that was later confirmed by the Huffington Post and the New York Times.
Here's what the White House said in confirming its support for the plan, via the New York Times:
“The president has long supported raising the minimum wage so hardworking Americans can have a decent wage for a day’s work to support their families and make ends meet."
The White House official added that Obama supports the Harkin-Miller bill, which would incrementally raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over time. Leadership wouldn't necessarily introduce that particular bill, but it seems to be the starting point, according to Politico. In his State of the Union speech this year, President Obama called for a minimum wage hike to $9 an hour. Congress last raised the minimum wage in 2007, and it now stands at $7.25 an hour. Some cities and states have higher minimums than that. But the $10 an hour standard would be higher than any current state-wide minimum. Currently, Washington State's $9.19 minimum wage is the highest.
The $10 proposal has two possible lines of logic behind it. First, it's likely that Republicans will try to argue that number down, so now Democrats are starting with more room to work with. Second, supporters of minimum wage increases have pointed out that if the minimum wage from the 1960's was simply still in effect, but indexed for inflation, it would be higher than $10, as the Huffington Post explained.
After Thursday's meeting, it looks like the minimum wage battle will be the next Senate push for Democrats now that ENDA passed. Democrats will almost certainly need at least 5 Republicans to vote with them in order to avoid a filibuster of the bill. It's not clear who, if anyone across the aisle, would vote for the proposal.