Reid: Senate will vote on minimum wage increase

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that the Senate would vote on raising the minimum wage "in the weeks ahead."

Reid said he hoped Republicans would join Democrats in passing a federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

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“They should stand up for middle class families and not resort to obstructionism,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Reid said the increase would boost the economy by creating 85,000 new jobs. He also called on just one more Republican to join Democrats in supporting a three-month extension of unemployment insurance.

Last week, the four Republicans voted with Democrats to support a $6 billion UI extension that was paid for through pension smoothing. Democrats need one more Republican to get to the 60-vote threshold to end debate.

Reid said Democrats wouldn’t give up on the issue despite the fact that Republicans have blocked three different attempts since the beginning of this year.

“On Thursday the Senate fell one vote short of restoring unemployment insurance to millions of Americans,” Reid said. “We only need one more Republican to step up and do the right thing for these people. … We’re not going to stop pushing for unemployment insurance.”

Nearly 1.3 million people lost their long-term unemployment benefits at the end of December. Unemployment insurance was designed to help those looking for work in states that can’t afford to pay unemployment benefits for more than six months. 

Democrats have said they plan to use income inequality against Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections.