Frist slips 'poison pill' to minimum wage bill

It was so much easier for Senate Republicans to kill both attempts by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to raise the minimum wage last year with no midterm elections looming right around the corner. With nothing more than their routine disregard for the poor as an excuse, the GOP leadership killed two bills offered by Kennedy in 2005 to raise a federal minimum wage that has remained the same for almost a decade.

This year it's tougher, because Republican Senators up for reelection may have to explain screwing working Americans in a more recent vote while, at the same time, managing to give themselves nine pay raises, totaling almost $32,000, in the same ten-year span.

So Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has found a new way to pull his Simon Legree act and this time it takes the form of attaching a "poison pill" amendment to Kennedy's S.AMDT.4322, which would gradually raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over the next two years.

A poison-pill is a procedural maneuver in which an onerous amendment is attached to a bill under consideration to force proponents of the original legislation to bail out and drop the whole issue. It's designed to either kill a bill entirely or create a situation that forces the other side into a negotiation to water down their original legislation to an unrecognizable point.

And the best way for a Religious Right go-to guy like Frist to do that -- and to poke a sharp stick in the eye of Senate Democrats -- is to attach an anti-abortion bill, that must be voted on before the minimum wage measure. Frist's S.AMDT.4323 would criminalize the transport of a minor across state lines to get an abortion and Democrats have to contend with that before they can get to the minimum wage issue.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.