Consumer advocate and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is furious at both Democrats and Republicans for failure to pass a federal minimum wage increase.
Nader, 80, speaking to Politico,
says he fears that Democrats will not put enough political muscle behind a discharge petition filed by Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., designed to force the minimum wage issue to a House vote.
Instead, Nader charges that Democrats are using the federal minimum wage issue solely as a weapon against Republicans in the upcoming November midterm elections.
"Do they want it, or do they just want to use it as a campaign hammer against the Republicans?" Nader asked, insisting that a vote "could happen any day if the Democrats muscled it and the unions put it all over the TV in the districts."
Nader's dream is that if the discharge could garner enough votes from Republicans to force a vote on the House and Senate floors against the wishes of Republican leadership, Republicans would be forced to publicly oppose the issue, and pay for their opposition in lost votes.
"We know how they can crush the Republicans. We've known that for years. There's only one thing left, and that's public shame. You can't even deal with guilt with these people," he told Politico.
However, the discharge petition stands little chance of approval, as it would require at least 19 Republicans and all Democrats in the House to force the issue onto the House floor for a vote, USA Today
Bishop told USA Today he believes there is a "fighting chance" that Democrats could get 19 Republicans to sign on and, if so, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said, "When it comes to the floor, it will pass. We just need a vote."
The minimum wage increase has been blocked by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, but Nader believes at least 50 House Republicans may support an increase.
If successful, the measure would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour over two years. However, according to the Brookings Institution, there is little chance that a discharge petition would be successful. Only one out of 74 discharge petition attempts have been successful since 2002.
A House Democratic aide told Politico that the minimum wage "is a key part of our Middle Class Jumpstart agenda that every single House Democrat is out talking about during August. It's in our economic agenda. We’re hitting it constantly. Senate is hitting it, too."
As for Nader, the aide told Politico, he doesn't know what he's talking about, per usual."
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