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 JohnsonCongress looks to strengthen hand in State Department following impeachment Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Father of Parkland shooting victim calls on Congress to take action MORE (R-Wis.), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.), Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium GOP senators defend Sondland, Vindman ousters: They weren't 'loyal' MORE (R-Mo.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US prosecutors bring new charges against China's Huawei Graham vows to approach Hunter Biden probe with caution: 'I'm not going to be the Republican Christopher Steele' MORE (R-N.C.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Iowa), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkBiden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' Why Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR MORE (R-Ill.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (R-Ky.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to combat cyberattacks on state and local governments 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 ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms Bottom line Harry Reid: 'People should not be counting Joe Biden out of the race yet' MORE (D-Nev.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHow to downsize the federal education role — without attracting attention Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign Democratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students MORE (D-Wash.), Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottOvernight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus House panel advances bipartisan surprise billing legislation despite divisions Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure 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.