Still No Minimum Wage Bill – Not Because Of Trump Or McTurtle – Because Of Pelosi And Hoyer And Their Blue Dogs

By Howie Klein. Published at DownWithTryanny!

The Deseret News in Utah is far more conservative than the Salt Lake Tribune. But last week, the paper’s ran an OpEd that one wouldn’t expect to see in a right-wing Republican newspaper, America Has Gone Too Long Without Raising The Minimum Wage. “June 16 marks the longest period in history without an increase since the federal minimum wage was established in 1938. The federal minimum wage went to $7.25 an hour on July 24, 2009– nearly 10 years ago. It remains $7.25 today, amounting to just $15,080 a year for full-time work. When the minimum wage does not go up, it goes down in value relative to the cost of living. The gap between minimum wage and the cost of rent, groceries, medicine, transportation and everything else keeps growing. That matters whether you’re trying to work your way through school, support your child or need a job to make ends meet on Social Security. The buying power of today’s $7.25 minimum is lower than the minimum wage of 1968, which would be $11.96 in 2019 dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator. Our economy has grown considerably since 1968, but not the federal minimum wage, which sets the floor under worker pay.”

As we saw Sunday evening, Steny Hoyer is willing to put everything on the line to get a raise— for members of Congress. Enough Democrats agreed that– at the very least– this looked out of touch with the economic realties of the country that Hoyer was reigned in by his own caucus.

There’s no chance a minimum wage increase is going to be enacted with McConnell running the Senate and Trump in the White House, but Pelosi had campaigned on passing a $15 minimum wage, not in her first 100 days as speaker but in her first 100 hours. She hasn’t delivered. On January 16, Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced a great piece of legislation, the Raise the Wage Act (H.R.582). The bill would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. There are 235 Democrats in the House. 205 have signed on as co-sponsors. The last to sign on is a very conservative Blue Dog freshman from Virginia, Abigail Spanberger. The 16 other non-original co-sponsors were virtually all conservative Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party– members like Ed Case (Blue Dog-HI), Seth Moulton (New Dem-MA), Ami Bera (New Dem-CA), Stephen Lynch (New Dem-MA), Mikie Sherrill (Blue Dog-NJ), Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ), Max Rose (Blue Dog-NY), Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ), Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN) Elissa Slotkin (New Dem-MI)– but at least they signed on! There are still 30 Democrats– THIRTY– who haven’t signed on. That includes 19 freshmen who are being advised to not co-sponsor a bill that raises the minimum wage. How are they even Democrats if they’re taking that kind of advice from Hoyer and the DCCC? These are the freshmen who are notcosponsors. How do any of them deserve to be reelected?

Jeff Van Drew (Blue Dog-NJ)
Joe Cunningham (Blue Dog-SC)
Kendra Horn (Blue Dog-OK)
Cindy Axne (New Dem-IA)
Ben McAdams (Blue Dog-UT)
Xochitl Torres Small (Blue Dog-NM)
Sharice Davids (New Dem-KS)
Anthony Brindisi (Blue Dog-NY)
Antonio Delgado (NY)
Abby Finkenauer (IA)
Lucy McBath (New Dem-GA)
Angie Craig (New Dem-MN)
Colin Allred (New Dem-TX)
Dean Phillips (New Dem-MN)
Chris Pappas (New Dem-NH)
TJ Cox (New Dem-CA)
Sean Casten (New Dem-IL)
Lauren Underwood (New Dem-IL)
Greg Stanton (New Dem-AZ)

Goal ThermometerOn paper, Pelosi, Hoyer and Jim Clyburn– as well as Blue Dog chair Stephanie Murphy– are original co-sponsors. But if you want to know why there is no bill, look no further than those 4 + Alabama New Dem and corporate shill Terri Sewell (a co-sponsor on paper who is working the hardest to stop the bill from moving). Hoyer, who’s never done anything without a sign-off from K Street, told CNN in mid-May that “We’ll get the votes for the minimum wage bill, but there are discussions about how we can, what actions, if any, should we take to make sure that it is fair.” Fair? Fair to who, the workers who are slaving away on wages they can’t live on? Or fair to Hoyer’s lobbyist buddies’ clients?

It’s most comfortable for Pelosi and Hoyer and their team to blame the lack of progress on the Republicans but the sad reality is that they can’t even get a $15 minimum wage bill through the House they control. This is a touchy item for them. Conservative Democrats want to please business interests that have always and will always oppose the minimum wage– let alone increases to it– but they’re petrified that if their base voters find out that it’s them who are keeping it from passing the voters won’t turn out for them. Nor should they. Pelosi and her leadership team helped set a record yesterday– a shameful record of not raising the minimum wage for the longest period in history. Congratulations, Speaker Pelosi– the longer you cling to power, the worse and worse your legacy turns.

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  1. Svante

    How much additional energy, resources… everything, do we waste to sit in traffic to get to work or own 2nd vehicles, to buy food, obtain childcare and necessities requisite to try to earn enough to support our families, cover debt; feed, clothe, educate and ensure our health to earn more profit for our betters (bosses, their investors, their puppets, shills and enforcers: kleptocrats, media shills, cops and military). We do not plan to sit in traffic, buy crap at retail, eat toxic junk food all at non-competitive, monopoly prices. We do not aim to live great distances from multiple jobs, lacking mass transit, child or elder support, at remunerations they set, termed temporary, part time, contingency labor or independent contractors at their convenience, without Worker’s Comp, overtime, unemployment or healthcare, lacking recourse to or enforcement of long existing laws (enforced against us, never for us). Cui bono? EZ Credit!

    1. Carla

      Great article, Howie Klein! Could you write up the Democrats who have propped up payday lending leeches next? That’s not a one-party game, either — not by a long shot! Thanks for posting this, Yves.

  2. Jen

    Glad to see the Granite State delegation make me proud once again. Pappas, is one of the 19 freshman who’s not on board, and Annie Kuster is one of the 11 returning congresscritters. Way to go!

    I’ll be writing in Levi Sanders come the next primary, and the next general election.

  3. jackiebass

    Send these Wall Street Blue Dog democrats to the republican party. They are really republicans calling themselves democrats that probably couldn’t be elected labeled as a republican. Unfortunately these people control the leadership. It is Bill Clintons legacy to the democrat party. As a life long registered democrat , I too frequently can’t vote for the democrat candidate. That leaves me voting for a third party candidate. If the democrats nominate a Wall Street democrat as their presidential candidate, I won’t vote for them. I also won’t vote for Trump. I didn’t vote for Obama and have never voted for Schumer. I refuse to vote for a candidate just because they run as a democrat. They have to show me they are a real democrat to get my vote.

    1. JohnnySacks

      And Biden, the one ring to unite them all, appears to be coasting into the white house. This is sick. I despised Seth Moulton since the day he announced, he parks his sorry entitled butt in an area of the country where you can’t rent the crappiest 2 bedroom apartment in the worst area of town to live in for under $1700 a month.
      As far as I’m concerned anymore, when we elect the military to public service, all we’ll get for solutions are a need for discipline and obedience at the threat of a boot on our necks.

      1. divadab

        @Johnny – “And Biden, the one ring to unite them all, appears to be coasting into the white house”

        Appears to be coasting to the Dem nomination, rather. Trump will eat him alive if the corporatist Dems do a reprise of 2016 and nominate Biden.

        Corporatist Dems are filthy and corrupt and with all the stupidity of age and arrogance and inability to imagine anything but the status quo.

        1. Charger01

          They would rather lose to Trump than have an upstart lefty break their rice bowls. Consultants need to grift for donations.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i feel the same, Jackie.
      too many people died for my right to vote(so we’re told) for me to just give it away.
      reps and senators are our employees, and it’s up to them to EARN my vote. I don’t owe them nuthin.
      that so many democrats can’t understand this is both frightening and tiresome.
      of course, since i live in Texas…i often do hold my nose and vote for whatever dem is running…but i have withheld my vote on principal on numerous occasions(texas dems can be even worse than repugs, see: H. Cuellar))

      1. Eureka Springs

        Wish it were so but we are not a democracy (representative is implied when I use that word). They do not work for us. They don’t even keep their oath to protect and defend the constitution.

        As for all the not blue dogs we were all warned the day the progs voted for Pelosi as Speaker again.

  4. TG

    But we have to vote for the Democrats because they are the lesser of two evils! And they are for transgender bathrooms!

    Which is why we now have Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden who are so far to the right they make Richard Nixon look like Eugene Debs.

    1. PKMKII

      Anything for the LGBT, as long as it’s not increasing the pay and workplace power of working class LGBT (which, despite popular media depictions of them all being upper middle class creative professionals, makes up the bulk of the LGBT community).

    2. jrs

      although even the article says it’s not just Dems, so the headline is pretty misleading, I mean I was looking to read that Trump is now for a minimum wage increase etc.. Nah all it says is “There’s no chance a minimum wage increase is going to be enacted with McConnell running the Senate and Trump in the White House” . Ok then.

      1. John Wright

        If so, it seems like it would be a good political move for the Dems to assure their cheap labor donors/sponsors (as in a HRC “public position” vs “private position”) that they are “only kidding about a minimum wage increase” and have ALL Democrats sign onto increasing the minimum wage.

        They could pick up some working class votes while preserving their donor base because the measure would fail due to the Republicans.

        Maybe some of the Democrats are not as cynical as I believed, some may actually view an increased minimum wage as bad for America.

        Which makes the Democratic party even less of a force for positive change.

  5. trout creek

    “A whole nation goes broke. The result is a nation in which 80% of people live paycheck to paycheck. Millions live in a new kind of poverty–precarity. Once the stuff of Marxist theory — now a grim reality. Life is a daily exercise of fending off bill collectors, paying off crushing debts, trying to desperately just eke out enough to live this month. The vast majority of Americans live right at the razor’s edge of ruin. They are perpetually one illness, emergency, or expense away from disaster — homelessness, bankruptcy, eviction, genuine ruin. And that is because eudaimonic hyperinflation, for the basics of life, wrecked their chances at a decent life, on an average income.”

    Umair Haque

    1. Susan the other`

      It is a tarpit. The corporations can’t afford to give up any profit because they will fall behind and be eaten by their competitors. So they sink lower and lower and externalize expenses into society and impoverish labor. Small businesses are hurt by higher wages for the same reasons of competition and the dire necessity for profits. Government is hardly more than the church lady, passing useless legislation. It’s a massive piece of irony that the thing we so embrace – profit – is the thing killing us all. Because it kills demand and well being. We are no longer a viable country because our structural contradictions have not lead to fixing anything but to structural confusion, denial and violence. And the cherry on top? Oil. It is the thing we exploited to “win” the cold war by turbo charging the freedom to profiteer, aka capitalism, and effectively purchase the whole damn planet through the mirage of finance – only to destroy it in just 5 decades. Does anybody else think this is nuts? Our desire for prosperity and profit has prevented our own healthy evolution as a society, even as a civilization. And to turn this ship around is going to be all hands on deck. Because we are all in this together.

      1. John Wright

        I disagree with “The corporations can’t afford to give up any profit because they will fall behind and be eaten by their competitors”

        Giving up current profit to develop a new product well in advance of the competition or to expand market share or to hire new employees or to train their employees could all be a very good things for corporate survival and to best their competitors.

        If a corporation were to sacrifice current profit in these ways it may inspire competitors to do the same in response.

        Forgoing profit could be a very good thing for a corporation to do.

        1. lordkoos


          Thanks to mergers is very little real competition left in the US anyhow — many companies have a monopoly and have carved out their separate fiefdoms.

        2. baldski

          All their profit goes to stock buybacks for CEO’s and stockholders. Nothing is left for new products and employees.

  6. Frank Little

    Can’t say I’m surprised that Angie Craig and Dean Phillips haven’t signed on. Not offering this as an excuse because it’s a moral imperative that the minimum wage be increased, but both represent rich Minneapolis suburbs and hold seats that were reliably Republican until last year.

    1. tegnost

      Well apparently they are still reliably republican, but they are no longer shackled by that loathesome (R) identity and their social capital is much higher now as identified (D)’s

  7. John Beech

    Still No Minimum Wage Bill – Not Because Of Trump Or McTurtle – Because Of Pelosi And Hoyer And Their Blue Dogs – 06/18/2019 – Yves Smith

    This article was worth a read. But maybe not for the reasons you might think.

    First, I don’t know the answer but speaking with SIL about my nephew who works in a hospital as a surgical tech (basically, makes sure the correct instruments are on the tray before surgery) and how proud they were he’d gotten a raise and was now earning $15.85/hour. They’re concerned about $15/hr minimum wage, and how if that comes to pass his pay will stagnate, e.g. not go up to $21/hour to compensate (I think they augment his pay now – and – I totally believe they’re right about the folks making $15/hour right now getting stuck if minimum goes to $15). Anyway, $15/hour is noting in a big city where rent is $2500 for a tiny walkup you may well have to share – but – out in flyover country, grown ass men kill for $15/hour jobs with prospects of $20 after a few years.

    Another thing; with respect to all the doodads we buy from the Orient, which we’re on the one hand wanting made here in USA USA but on the other hand, we decry the appalling conditions of those with work in repetitive industries (manufacturing, but I’m also specifically thinking of how Amazon is regularly excoriated on this site). This fact poses a conundrum. Better jobs come with hard work. Always have, always will.

    Also, how do you account for the fact the most backward world power is trying to bring their people out of the dark ages and into the modern work within a generation? Forgetting about this is wishful thinking. It’s easy to complain about the jobs that went there without at the same time considering the good it’s done that country. After all, assimilating several billion into the capitalist order overnight was never going to be a walk in the park, was it?

    Anyway, it seems the Speaker is quite aware of how trying to impeach the President would go down, so she has resisted. Similarly, she seems well aware of how unilaterally imposing a higher wage on small employers would go down. Me? I predict unemployment shoots up overnight. Source? My responsibilities include signing the front of paychecks. And I hang with friends who are business owners. Thus, I have some inkling about this.

    Meanwhile, I suspect those slamming assembly line work (or how Amazon measures pick-and-pack employees by how many the do per hour) have only signed the back of their paychecks and thus, have no clue regarding the real world. That business about the dignity of labor is BS, it’s just work to put food on the table. Nothing dignified about it. Given a choice, I bet 100% would rather have a paycheck for sitting on the beach. Just saying.

    Finally, please note, nobody working with us makes less than $15/hour. Even those who pick and pack only start at $15/hr – BUT – we’re in semi-flyover country of central Florida and offering $10/hour (and I’m sure we could hire at that for some of these jobs) pretty much gets you the kind of people you’d expect for $10. E.g. kids starting out, whom you train and then lose because they get tired of showing up for work at 8AM plus the ne’er-do-wells (the type who buy 12-packs on the way home, power down one before they leave the parking lot, park a block from their place and power down five more, then walk into their homes with a six-pack and in the mornings smell like it). Same sorts who want two 5-minute smoke breaks per hour instead of one (and will make them into 10-min breaks if you’re not paying attention). E.g. the kind we try to never hire – even if they were only asking for $10/hour.

    Frankly, we don’t start folks out at $15 out of the goodness of our hearts (we’re in business, by definition we don’t have hearts, right?) but because at $15 we can be a little more choosy. And if we’re being honest, some folks aren’t worth even $5/hr. What’s your plan for these sorts? Or does everybody deserve a job whether they produce or not? And if so, who pays for it?

    1. flora

      Thanks for stating clearly what I hear a lot of small business owners say in my area. Of course, they’re Republicans and vote GOP. They have a party to vote for that represents their economic interests.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      The real questions are…

      What kind of business would you have if it weren’t for those employees? How much value do they add to YOUR net worth?

      Bet you’d be out of business without them.
      And I’d further bet you could be replaced at half your cost. I’ve signed on both sides of a paycheck and signing the back is always the underappreciated side.

      So the real question is who should decide the value of labor? I submit we can’t let the rentier/capital side decide or it’ll be this continued exploitations of the masses.

    3. Stratos

      “It’s easy to complain about the jobs that went there without at the same time considering the good it’s done that country.”

      What about this country? What about the hardworking people in the good old US of A? Don’t they deserve good, too? They certainly do not deserve the woe they face because of the avarice of a few stateless corporate chieftains.

      Fascinating that a country full of people who tell everyone how clever they are and how long their vaunted history is could not pull themselves into the modern industrial era without the gifts of greedy American corporations. Corporations who were willing to grind their own country women and men into the dust for increased quarterly profits and bonus packages.

      Perhaps people concerned about the “good” that American jobs have done for another country should relocate to the up and coming country. Then they could start businesses over there with all of those new additions to the “capitalist order”. Hopefully, the billionaires and mega millionaires will relocate there, too.

      Meanwhile, the people of the USA could rebuild this country and lead it into its full potential—–free of ‘pay to play’ politics or a privitized ‘pay as you go’ economy.

      One last observation. I live in a city with a full $15.00 per hour wage floor. I have never before seen so many signs in local businesses that shout, “Help Wanted”, “Join Our Team” or “Exciting Hiring Fair this Saturday”. It seems the problem for local businesses regarding higher wages is not that the “undeserving” are paid too much, but of holding on to workers who have choices.

    4. Plenue

      “And if we’re being honest, some folks aren’t worth even $5/hr.”

      Screw you.

      “Or does everybody deserve a job whether they produce or not?”

      Yes, you psychopath.

      “And if so, who pays for it?”

      Federal jobs guarantee. Otherwise we’re subjecting people to the mercies of scum like you.

  8. KYrocky

    The United States is being hollowed out. For generations the minimum wage provided a floor that would allow for levels of financial independence that cannot possibly be obtained today. From my experience up into the early 80’s two people working minimum wage jobs, or a working couple, could live independently in most areas of the country. Housing, transportation, food, phone, etc., could be covered without needing parents to chip in. That is no longer possible.

    Elizabeth Warren’s shared her personal story of her family staving off financial ruin and eviction when her mother got a minimum wage job at Sears. Her mother’s job paid the rent and all the bills for their family, Elizabeth and her brother. That was long ago, when our government worked for the people, not just the rich.

    Like the proverbial frog in a pot, the economic heat has been slowly turning up on those at the bottom of the ladder for decades now. The poorest felt it first, but the heat continues to rise and now afflicts close to half of our population. It did not used to be this way, and it does not need to be this way.

    This is what class warfare looks like. Saying that is not hyperbole. The earnings and wealth of a majority of our citizens has been targeted for looting, with the complicity and power of our government, to benefit the rich.

    The fact that the Democratic leadership opposes raising the minimum wage should not surprise anybody as they have all served the corporate interests for their entire careers. They are not friends of the working class. While they may be less worse than the other guy, they are still on the wrong side of the war.

  9. Altandmain

    The issue is that the Democratic Establishment does not want to have a livable minimum wage passed. If they did, it would be putting them at odds with the demands of their donors, many of whom are interested in lowering wages or outsourcing.

    The fundamental problem is that government is a plutocracy pretending to be a democratic society. Until the rich suffer from the consequences, we won’t see changes.

    This is also a great argument against voting for the neoliberal Democrats. They aren’t going to make the necessary reforms and frankly suck only slightly less than the Republicans.

  10. Steven Greenberg

    By the time we get a $15 minimum wage it won’t be enough to call a living wage.

    The fact that Bernie called for $15/hour four years ago should be an indication that he needs to be asking for more now.

    1. Plenue

      It isn’t enough now. A living wage would be at least 20. 15 is an improvement, but I’m not really sure why it’s come to be the thing everyone is rallying around. Maybe people just figured it was a compromise they could successfully sell.

      But as Beech above wonderfully demonstrates, attempting to compromise is pointless, because the small business useful idiots will always, always, come out to complain about any increase.

      If you genuinely can’t keep your business afloat without treating your employees like dirt, your business doesn’t deserve to survive.

      1. jrs

        It likely depends on location, by the time it passes, it’s going to be near $15 some places anyway by local law.

        But no you can’t live in a big city at less than $20 an hour, and even then it’s a never ending arms race with rent.

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