Dems seek upper hand on minimum wage in 2016 Senate races
© Getty Images

Democrats plan to make raising the minimum wage a primary issue against vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection in 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) will release opposition research and statements later on Thursday hitting Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker to unveil bill banning gun bump stocks Senate Homeland Security chairman backs bump-stock ban after Las Vegas shootings MORE (R-Wis.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteDems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Stale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Trump voter fraud commission sets first meeting outside DC MORE (R-N.H.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA MORE (R-Mo.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrTrump: Why isn't Senate looking into 'Fake News Networks'? Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Special counsel looking into dossier as part of Russia probe: report MORE (R-N.C.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa), Mark KirkMark KirkGiffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Stale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Immigration critics find their champion in Trump MORE (R-Ill.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Authorizing military force is necessary, but insufficient GOP feuds with outside group over analysis of tax framework MORE (R-Ky.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Reddit hires first lobbyists Senate panel approves bill compelling researchers to ‘hack’ DHS 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 ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial MORE (D-Nev.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance MORE (D-Wash.), Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Bobby ScottBobby ScottOvernight Regulation: SEC chief grilled over hack | Dems urge Labor chief to keep Obama overtime rule | Russia threatens Facebook over data storage law Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers Dems offer alternative to Trump administration's child care proposal 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.