Dems seek upper hand on minimum wage in 2016 Senate races
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Democrats plan to make raising the minimum wage a primary issue against vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection in 2016.

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) will release opposition research and statements later on Thursday hitting Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson40 patient advocacy groups oppose 'right to try' drug bill GOP eyes changes to 'right to try' bill Hundreds sign on to letter opposing 'right to try' drug bill MORE (R-Wis.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (R-N.H.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHouse passes bill to ease menu labeling rules under ObamaCare Heroin Task Force presses Congress for more funding to fight opioid epidemic Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA MORE (R-Mo.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Cybersecurity: Trump poised to allow release of intel memo | GOP chair threatens to subpoena DHS over Kaspersky docs | Pompeo defends meeting Russian spy chief Furor grows over Nunes intel memo Pelosi calls on Ryan to oust Nunes over ‘bogus’ memo MORE (R-N.C.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law MORE (R-Iowa), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R-Ill.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon: War in Afghanistan will cost billion in 2018 Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Rand Paul calls for punishment if Congress can't reach a long-term budget deal MORE (R-Ky.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP leader: Congress may settle for pared-down immigration deal Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Key senator floats new compromise for immigration talks MORE (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) for past opposition to raising the minimum wage.

“Ron Johnson has consistently voted against a minimum wage increase that would help working families make ends meet,” DSCC national press secretary Sadie Weiner says in the statement targeting Wisconsin. “Men and women who are willing to work hard for a living deserve a livable wage that doesn’t leave them and their families struggling, and Ron Johnson is going to have a hard time defending his callous votes and comments against a minimum wage increase.”

The Johnson release highlights past statements the Republican made, in which he called raising the minimum wage “Russian roulette for the working poor” and said the efforts were “disturbing” because the Congressional Budget Office has found that raising the minimum wage could lead to some low-wage workers losing their jobs.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee shot back, calling Democratic initiatives “tired old policies” that will keep people from moving out of low-wage jobs.

“All hardworking Americans deserve higher wages and that happens by creating more high paying jobs,” NRSC spokesman Matt Connelly said in a statement. “Senate Democrats' tired old policies are keeping American workers stuck in minimum wage jobs. If they were serious about helping hard working families they would join with Republicans to create good paying jobs that will jumpstart our economy.”

The nine Republican senators targeted by the DSCC are up for reelection in 2016, and Democrats believe Johnson, Ayotte, Blunt, Burr, Kirk, Portman and Toomey are vulnerable. Whether those Republicans are able to successfully defend their seats will be critical in determining who controls the Senate in 2016.

The DSCC attacks come as Democrats in the House in Senate plan to unveil legislation Thursday to raise the minimum wage.

Sens. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTo end sugar subsidies, conservatives can't launch a frontal attack House presses Senate GOP on filibuster reform A pro-science approach to Yucca Mountain appropriations MORE (D-Nev.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayLawmakers eye retirement help for gig economy workers Overnight Regulation: Labor Department reportedly hid unfavorable report on tip-pooling rule | NY plans to sue EPA over water rule | Senators urge FTC to probe company selling fake Twitter followers Trump's vows to take on drug prices, opioids draw skepticism MORE (D-Wash.), Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDems want info on Labor Dept hiding unfavorable report on impacts of tip-pooling rule Dem lawmakers call on Labor Department to rescind tip-pooling rule Overnight Regulation: Government watchdog to probe fake net neutrality comments | California, greens sue over fracking rule | EU fines Qualcomm .2B over payments to Apple MORE (D-Va.), and Labor Secretary Tom Perez will hold a press conference on Capitol Hill to preview a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 by the year 2020.