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Senate GOP blocks minimum wage increase

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans have blocked an election-year Democratic bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage.

Wednesday’s vote was a defeat for one of President Barack Obama’s top economic priorities. And it is sure to echo in this year’s congressional elections as both parties grapple over which is truly trying to help American families.

The bill would have gradually increased the current $7.25 hourly minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over 30 months. Democrats say it would have helped millions of low-income families, while Republicans argue that it would have raised employers’ costs and reduced jobs.

The vote was 54-42 in favor of allowing debate on the measure, six short of the 60 needed to prevail.

Underscoring the political value they believe the bill has, Democrats have said they will force additional votes on the legislation this year.

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