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Local politics affects senators on minimum wage

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February 26, 2014 03:21 AM EST | AP


WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Democratic senators named Mark, both seeking re-election this year from Republican-leaning states, illustrate how local politics is complicating the push by President Barack Obama and his party to raise the federal minimum wage.

Mark Pryor of Arkansas says he will vote against the bill, which would gradually boost the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016. But he says he may oppose GOP efforts to derail it before debate even begins.

Pryor's Arkansas has high unemployment and weak labor unions.

Mark Begich of Alaska is co-sponsoring the legislation. Alaska has a stronger economy and more powerful unions than Arkansas, and a state minimum wage exceeding the federal standard.

Democrats delayed debate on the legislation again Tuesday, this time until at least late March.