Minimum Wage Increase Gives Udall Strong Contrast with Gardner

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Sen. Mark Udall (left) has been an outspoken supporter of increasing the minimum wage. Cory Gardner (right), not so much.

Republican Senators today blocked an effort to move forward on legislation to increase the federal minimum wage, an issue that should nevertheless help Sen. Mark Udall draw a sharp contrast with Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in November. From NBC News:

A Democratic bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 was met with overwhelming Republican opposition in the Senate today, where it failed to garner the 60 votes needed to move past a key procedural hurdle.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour over the next 30 months, after which automatic annual increases in the minimum wage would be executed to account for inflation. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the only Republican who voted in favor of letting a debate on the measure proceed; it failed by a margin of 54-42…

…The federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times since it was first implemented in 1938, most recently in 2007 when it was raised from $5.15 per hour to the current $7.25 per hour by Democrats who had just gained control of both chambers of Congress. The annual pay for a full-time minimum wage worker currently sits at $14,500, which is below the poverty line for a household of more than one person.

Public sentiment is on the side of an increase, with 63 percent of Americans saying they would support a minimum wage hike to $10.10 per hour in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

67 percent of Colorado voters support minimum wage increaseThe NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is not the only recent public survey to show strong support for raising the minimum wage, both nationally and here in Colorado. In fact, voters in our state support a federal minimum wage increase by an even greater margin; a Quinnipiac University poll from February 2014 shows that Colorado voters support a minimum increase by a 67-31 margin.

Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet both voted to move the minimum wage increase forward, and Udall was not happy with the outcome of today's vote (full press release after the jump):

"Colorado and other states have shown that raising the minimum wage is a common-sense way to help hardworking families and protect our special way of life. The obstruction of this reasonable proposal — that would have helped 269,000 Coloradans and enhanced our state’s economy — is extremely disappointing and it strengthens my conviction that we must do more to improve Americans' economic mobility," Udall said. "This issue is far too important to fall by the wayside due to a minority of senators who are blocking progress, and I will keep fighting to empower hardworking Coloradans to make a living wage and provide for their families."

Congressman Cory Gardner has been relatively quiet on the most recent effort to raise the minimum wage, but his long record of opposition should allow Udall to draw an important distinction on another issue overhelmingly popular with Colorado voters (see: Personhood, Same-Sex Marriage, etc., etc.). Gardner was a vocal critic of a 2006 ballot measure to increase Colorado's minimum wage (Amendment 42, which passed by a 53-47 margin); a few months later, he voted against a state legislative measure to finalize implementation of the voter-approved amendment (HB07-1001; 1/22/07). Gardner also sponsored a floor amendment to strip Consumer Price Index-adjusted increases in the minimum wage (HB07-1001; 1/19/07) — completely ignoring the will of Colorado voters.

This is yet another example of how difficult it will be for Gardner to run a statewide race after years of representing highly-Republican districts in the most partisan fashion possible. Gardner can say whatever he wants about opposing a minimum wage increase, but that won't change the fact that his position is on the wrong side of the vast majority of Colorado voters.

 

Full press release from Sen. Mark Udall's office:

Mark Udall, a strong advocate for Colorado's hardworking families, called out a minority of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate for obstructing a common-sense proposal today to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act would have helped 269,000 Coloradans currently making the minimum wage and boosted the state's economy.

"Colorado and other states have shown that raising the minimum wage is a common-sense way to help hardworking families and protect our special way of life. The obstruction of this reasonable proposal — that would have helped 269,000 Coloradans and enhanced our state’s economy — is extremely disappointing and it strengthens my conviction that we must do more to improve Americans' economic mobility," Udall said. "This issue is far too important to fall by the wayside due to a minority of senators who are blocking progress, and I will keep fighting to empower hardworking Coloradans to make a living wage and provide for their families."

The federal minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent of its value since 1968. Colorado's minimum wage is currently $8 per hour. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 would:

  • Increase wages for 269,000 working Coloradans who currently make the minimum wage;
  • Raise wages for another 141,000 Coloradans who would see their salaries adjusted upward to reflect a new pay scale;
  • Elevate all affected Coloradans' total earnings by $578.1 million each year, contributing to workers' increased spending power;
  • Support 217,000 children in Colorado; and,
  • Increase Colorado's GDP by $366 million and create 1,500 full-time jobs over three years.

Udall has been a fierce advocate of combatting income inequality, closing the gender pay gap and supporting policies that create Colorado jobs. Earlier this month he decried a small group of lawmakers' efforts to block legislation aimed at leveling the playing field and ensuring women are not shortchanged in the workplace.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

    Look for the "DOA Cory Gardner me too minimum wage increase bill" in your Congressional hopper soon…

    Presto, now in spite of being opposed to minimum wage increases he is for them. Its like magic !

    • ModeratusModeratus says:

      Meanwhile, Mark Udall won't take a stand on fracking bans that threaten tens of thousands of Colorado jobs – jobs that pay a hell of a lot more than minimum wage.

      You stand up for fast food jobs, I want good jobs for Coloradans.

      • Ralphie says:

        You want good jobs for carpetbaggers.  Most O&G workers come and go with the booms and busts in the price of O&G.

      • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

        A job that involves destroying the health and livelihood of Coloradans is a good job.  All other jobs are fast food jobs.

      • DawnPatrol says:

        Dodge, divert, obfuscate. You're a coward and liar.

      • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

        What complete bullshit Moldy.

        TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS LOST?  What a paranoid fantasy made up number 

        I thought you were for local control of communities versus government overreach.  Who would of guessed you're just another fucking Republican flip-flopper like Gardner?

      • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

        Which fracking bans would those be, Moderatus? There has been lots of discussion about pro- and anti-fracking measures, but there is no current ballot measure to support or oppose.

      • BlueCat says:

        We also want fast food jobs to pay a living wage. You know. So fast food workers can feed themselves without government assistance.  Whatever jobs replace the old industrial sector jobs can be living wage jobs. Miners and factory workers used to make low wages before workers organized. You know. As in "I owe my soul to the company store"?  

        God didn't decree that those jobs should pay good wages. The workers forced the issue. No reason why we can't do the same thing for service sector jobs with legislation and rebuild the the vibrant middle class majority society that died while your St. Reagan was making shiny speeches about morning in America. That is he promised it would be once we got rid of the unions and welfare queens. Apparently he wasn't talking about freeloading ranchers or the Waltons.

         

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

         I want good jobs for Coloradans.

        I call bullshit…you, like most conservatives, don't give a rats' ass about anyones' job but your own…

        Assuming you are old enough to have a job. Most middle schoolers don't, but …you never know.

      • ct says:

        Becasue there are no FRACKING bans.  Why won't Gardner take a stand on saving the endangered Weld County Unicorn?  

      • langelomisteriosolangelomisterioso says:

        "good jobs" as defined by salary alone. Or "good jobs" that don't threaten the health of the worker or the communities they work in? Typical wingnut shortsightedness.

  2. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Speaking as a small business owner who has to make a profit and employees a number of people – $10.10 is incredibly reasonable. We already pay more than that for every position, including the student who's a part-time concierge.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      I agree…I start unskilled workers at $16.00/hr.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      David, software companies are not the companies that will be sheding workers. They don't employ minimum wage workers and they will not be laying off minimum wage workers. Outside of that bubble their will be people that win and people that lose their jobs.  In an economy that is not growing losing jobs is not a good thing.

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        How do you come to this conclusion?

        In an economy that is not growing losing jobs is not a good thing

        The Denver area job growth is 3.6%; our state is growing jobs at 2.9%; the estimates from CBO amount to a possible 0.44% loss.  It's mathematically impossible to get to a negative growth rate when trying to subtract 0.44 from either 3.6 or 2.9. 

        In a fairy tale world I'd like to believe that those who oppose the raise give a tinkers-damn about 'the poor people'.  Given that your money-masters think eliminating the minimum would be a better solution, please color me 'skeptical'.

        Have you ever met a billionaire that believed he had 'enough'?

         

        • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

          How do you come to this conclusion?

          It is on his list of talking points that comes in from…um…wherever the hell that tripe comes from….

          Almost everything these clowns say nowadays amounts to wishful thinking… or just plain old delusion…

          Tom Coburn was on Morning Joe this morning trying to spin his way out of this deplorable vote saying the "Free Market" should set the minimum wage. In essence, it has. Without intervention, real wages haven't risen in a very long time. People like Coburn would apparently be happy if wealthy farmers and industrialists could just buy their workers and keep them as property…like they did in the south in the early 1800s.

        • Andrew Carnegie says:

          First quarter numbers came out yesterday:

          The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance estimate of first quarter 2014 real gross domestic product shows output produced in the U.S. grew at a glacial 0.1% rate. This is growth relative to fourth quarter 2013, when real GDP increased 2.6%. Economists were anticipating growth around 1.1%.

          • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

            You're making my point: an increase in minimum wage would put more disposable income in the economy and would grow the economy.  As Nick Hanauer so eloquently states, the job creators are consumers with disposable income – not the rich.  That said, you really don't want me to believe that you are happy about any GDP growth under this POTUS, do you?  Celebrating anything that exasperates the challenges of the least amongst us seems to be more your style.

            PS: here is a good summary by Forbes on the Q1 GDP. 

  3. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    If one only read this page one would believe that Udall would be up 85% to 15%.  Yet the race seems tied….

  4. MapMaker says:

    The Republican vision for America:

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