New York -- A bid to raise the federal minimum wage was rejected by Republicans in the Senate, who blocked legislation Wednesday to boost the rate to $10.10 an hour. Senators predominantly voted across party lines, which places Democratic senators in favor and Republican senators opposed.
The defeat was expected, and it is expected to serve as a rallying cry for Democrats preparing their next campaign.
"The senators who voted 'no' … are doing so contrary to the wishes of the American people," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday. "So what we have seen since the President has been forcefully arguing for raising the minimum wage is support for that proposition around the country," he said. "We’ve seen states acting individually to raise the minimum wage, and that is very heartening."
Carney was referring to Hawaii, which recently raised its minimum wage to $10.10. And in Seattle on Thursday, the minimum wage for that city was raised to $15.
Minimum wage is a hotly contested issue. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of April 8, 38 states considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session; 34 states are considering increases to the state minimum wage.
In addition to Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., have enacted increases so far in 2014. As of Jan. 1, 2014, 21 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.