Republicans sustained a filibuster against a federal minimum wage increase in the U.S. Senate today. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, who has said he opposed the federal increase, did not vote, which has the same effect as a vote to sustain the filibuster.
Pryor has been in Arkansas this week in the aftermath of the tornado and was to fly back to Washington today.
Democrats hope opposition to the minimum wage increase will be helpful politically because polls in Arkansas and nationally show support for an increase. Pryor has said he’d favor an increase in the state minimum wage. The federal bill increased the minimum to $10.10. A proposal developed in Arkansas would phase in an increase in the current state minimum wage from $6.25, tied for lowest in the country, to $8.50 by 2017.
The vote was 54-42 to invoke cloture and end the filibuster, with 60 needed. Four senators didn’t vote, including Sen. John Boozman, in Arkansas recuperating from heart surgery. No Democrat voted for the filibuster. The bill stood little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House.