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Senate Democrats Delay Minimum Wage Vote

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. talks about unemployment benefits during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, a sign that layoffs are weighing less on the job market and economic growth. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) | ASSOCIATED PRESS


WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats have again delayed debating a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 hourly, postponing work on one of President Barack Obama's top priorities.

Democrats had hoped to debate the legislation before the Senate's mid-March recess. Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, the bill's author, said Tuesday they now expect to consider it after lawmakers return in late March.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Republican obstruction on nominations was slowing the chamber's work. But the delay also comes as Democrats seem not to have the 60 votes needed to overcome GOP efforts to scuttle the legislation.

Democrats initially expected to debate the proposal in December, and then early this year, but it slipped both times.

Harkin's bill would increase today's $7.25 minimum wage gradually until $10.10 in 2016.

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