Iowa’s two U.S. Senators split their votes Monday on a dueling pair of bills to raise the federal minimum wage.The wage of five-dollars 15-cents an hour hasn’t changed in eight years and it likely won’t be changing this year either. A proposal from Massachusetts democrat Ted Kennedy to raise the wage two-ten an hour over about two years won Iowa democrat Tom Harkin’s vote, but republican Chuck Grassley didn’t like it. Grassley says “I voted against Senator Kennedy’s minimum wage (bill) which I think was higher than we can absorb in our economy, particularly among small business people.” Grassley backed the republican plan, which Harkin rejected, to raise the wage a dollar-ten in steps over 18 months, along with tax breaks for small businesses. Grassley says many “ma-and-pa operations” can’t afford the higher wages and would be forced to lay off employees instead. The republican proposal was also defeated. Both minimum wage amendments were attached to Grassley’s bankruptcy bill, which is still in the works.
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