‘It will absolutely come down to California’: Balance of power in Congress hinges on these state races, experts say
A day after voters approved a $15 minimum wage in the biggest state in the union, the battle over raising it in 11 other states is already heating up.
On Tuesday, Californians voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a ballot initiative, the nation’s second-largest wage hike to date. President Donald Trump has expressed support for a $10 minimum wage.
But Republicans in Congress are already moving to block a minimum wage increase.
The fight is expected to get more serious as lawmakers grapple with an August recess and a potential government shutdown, which could imperil the economy and the federal health care “doughnut hole,” or lack of funding for health care.
“The states are key to the national conversation about health care,” said Richard Green, senior research fellow at the Urban Institute, a left-leaning think tank. “It’s hard for Congress to do that when its legislative agenda is held hostage by a fight over federal money.”
With this week’s vote in California, Republicans could be emboldened to take action against a national minimum wage, for example, “if they’re not having success on domestic policy issues,” said Green.
“That’s just the nature of politics,” he said.
Indeed, since the Supreme Court ruled on June 20 that Congress must pay for Obamacare, Republicans have been on a campaign of taking steps to dismantle it, at least in its current form.
“If we take a step back, we’re talking more about the individual mandate, the individual mandate,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “It’s not just the cost but the disruption when you have these kinds of mandates. … People will never be able to afford a $15 minimum wage.”
Democrats want to make the economy dynamic again, by putting employers in place mechanisms to make sure wage increases are equitable. And they want to get beyond the �