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Wednesday, January 10, 2007
House passes minimum wage increase 315-116
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, passing a $2.10 hourly increase by a wide margin.

The minimum wage, currently $5.15, last went up in 1997. Increasing it was one of the major campaign promises Democratic leaders made in November's elections, and it was the second of six bills House leaders vowed to pass in their first 100 hours of lawmaking business.

"For 10 years we struggled to have this vote, and now we're finally going to have it," Rep. George Miller, the new chairman of the House Education and
Labor Committee, said to cheers from his fellow Democrats as final passage neared.

Wednesday's vote was 315-116, with 82 Republicans joining 233 Democrats in favor. The measure now goes to the Senate, which is not following the House's 100-hour timetable.

President Bush and GOP leaders in Congress have indicated that they would go along with the increase this year if it is packaged along with tax breaks for small businesses. The measure Democrats brought to the floor Wednesday contained none of those provisions, but Rep. Buck McKeon, R-California, held out hope that the Senate would add those provisions.

"We must do better," said McKeon, the ranking Republican on Miller's committee. "And I believe once Congress completes its work, we will do better."
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