The Democrats' Minimum Wage Gap

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • TODAY ON THE HILL: Today at noon, the Senate will hold its first procedural vote on a Democratic measure to increase the minimum wage to $10.10. 60 votes are needed, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. Immediately following the minimum wage vote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Senate Democrats will hold a news conference on the minimum wage.
  • THE REALITY: According to the Associated Press's Alan Fram: "Democrats, aware that the measure faces all but certain rejection Wednesday in the chamber they control, plan to use the vote to buttress their campaign theme that the GOP is unwilling to protect financially struggling families. 'Americans understand fairness, and they know it's unfair for minimum-wage workers to put in a full day's work, a full month's work, a full year's work, and still live in poverty,' the measure's sponsor, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said Tuesday. Harkin's bill, an Obama priority, would gradually raise the $7.25 hourly minimum to $10.10 over 30 months and then provide automatic annual increases to account for inflation. Democrats argue that if fully phased in by 2016, it would push a family of three above the federal poverty line - a level such earners have not surpassed since 1979."


ABC's RICK KLEIN: Among the interesting findings in the new Harvard Institute of Politics poll of millennials is what might be a hint of the broad Obama legacy. Younger voters are now as disillusioned with government and its major institutions as they have been at any time since before 9/11, according to the poll. Yes, that includes the lowest points of the Bush presidency, such as the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina. Younger voters are saying they're less likely to vote this year than were saying at this point in 2010 - a year when, famously, the Obama coalition didn't gel, and the GOP took over the House. It appears to be a function of the high expectations President Obama ushered in: a high rise, followed by a hard fall. There's also a suggestion that the younger crop of millennials - voters now under 25, most of whom didn't have a chance to vote for Obama - are even more disillusioned, and less likely than their slightly older peers to identify strongly with the Democratic Party. Younger voters still look like they'll be Democrats for a while. But they may not vote - and they may be more open to Republican ideas and arguments than conventional wisdom would have dictated even just a few months back.



GABBY GIFFORDS TELLS ACTIVISTS SHE IS 'GETTING BETTER' (AND DOING YOGA, TOO). Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords wowed a crowd of Democratic activists Tuesday evening telling the crowd gathered for an event for Emily's List "it has been a long, hard haul, but I am getting better," ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. "I am working hard, lots of therapy: speech therapy, physical therapy, and yoga too," Giffords said with a laugh, before clearly urging those gathered to keep working hard and with a smile said she is "still fighting to make the world a better place and you can too." "My spirit is strong as ever," Giffords said to a thunderous standing ovation. "Get involved with your community, be a leader, set examples, strong women get things done. Be passionate, be courageous, be your best." Giffords, addressed the group at an awards dinner for Emily's List, an organization that works to elect female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. Giffords gave a "rising star" award in her name to Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. VIDEO:

RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? A KNOWN NAME CAN HELP. When it comes to running for president - at least at this early stage - a famous name sure helps, according to ABC's GREG HOLYK. So it is in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, in which some of the most recognizable potential candidates - Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan - lead a crowded 2016 Republican field, albeit none with anything near a clear advantage. Moving on to a hypothetical matchup between Bush and Hillary Clinton, the Democrat leads, boosted by a huge gender gap and with a more popular clan, as well. Sixty-six percent of Americans express a favorable view of her famous family, vs. 54 percent for Bush's. In the GOP, each of the current leaders has name recognition: Paul's father and Huckabee ran previously for their party's nomination. Ryan was Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012. And Bush, a former Florida governor, has a father and a brother you might have heard of. Paul, a senator from Kentucky, and Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, are backed, respectively, by 15 and 14 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who report being registered to vote. Bush and Ryan get 12 percent each in this poll. All others are in the single digits, ranging from 9 percent for the better-known Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, to 1 or 2 percent for comparatively less-known John Kasich and Bobby Jindal, the governors of Ohio and Louisiana, respectively.

-POLL NOTE: THE ELECTION AND THE ECONOMY. The president's at a new low in approval, most registered voters prefer a Republican Congress to rein in his policies and there's an even split in House vote preferences, ABC's DAMLA ERGUN notes. But another result in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll also is notable: The role of the economy in these views. We've tested it with regression analyses, a statistical technique measuring the relationship between two variables while holding all other available factors constant. The question: Are economic views just a function of partisan predispositions, or do they relate independently - above and beyond party affiliation - to preferences in the 2104 election? The answer is that they do. Partisanship, of course, is the single strongest predictor of House vote intention and desires as to which party controls Congress. But views of the economy's condition are the next-strongest independent predictor of those same outcomes.

STEVE CARELL, DANIEL CRAIG, BENICIO DEL TORO JOIN WHITE HOUSE PUSH AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT. The White House is enlisting the help of several male celebrities in a new public service ad as the administration makes its pitch to curb sexual assault on college campuses, ABC's DANA HUGHES and ARLETTE SAENZ report. Along with Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama, the ad features Daniel Craig, Benicio del Toro, Steve Carell, Seth Meyers and Dulé Hill, who played Charlie on the West Wing, talking about the need to stop sexual assaults. "We have a big problem, and we need your help," del Toro says in the minute-long ad. Biden unveiled the PSA yesterday during a White House event introducing new guidelines for college campuses to help curb sexual assaults. He said he personally reached out to the actors involved and they all asked what they could do to help. Biden gave an impassioned speech on the issue, raising his voice and pounding his fists on the podium at times.

SYRIA MISSED ANOTHER CHEMICAL WEAPONS DEADLINE. NOW WHAT? The Syrian government officially broke its pledge to get rid of its entire stash of chemical weapons by Sunday - a move that surprised few American officials but raised questions about how the international community can hold Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable for violating the United Nations resolution to which he agreed, according to ABC's ALI WEINBERG. As the deadline passed and Syria still had 8 percent of its declared chemical weapons in its possession, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the United States would continue to press the regime to give up its weapons, but she wouldn't make any predictions about how the international community would punish Syria for the delay. "We're continuing to press through with our international partners for them to meet the deadline," Psaki said Monday - a day after the deadline had passed.

BOEHNER DENIES MOCKING GOP COLLEAGUES IN VIDEO. A contrite House Speaker John Boehner denied yesterday that he was mocking his Republican colleagues when he mimicked them last week complaining in a whiny way that immigration reform is "too hard," ABC's JOHN PARKINSON reports. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. It was no mocking," Boehner insisted at a news conference on Capitol Hill following a meeting with the House Republican Conference. "Listen, you all know me. You know, I, you tease the ones you love right? But some people misunderstood what I had to say." Boehner was referring to his performance at a luncheon last in his district when he told an audience he wasn't sure whether an immigration bill would get done this year, but that he thought it should be passed. "I think we should [pass immigration reform], but the appetite… amongst my colleagues for doing this is not real good," Boehner said last Friday. Watch the video here:

GRADUATION 2014: POLITICIANS HIT THE COMMENCEMENT CIRCUIT. It's that time of the year again - high school, college and university graduation ceremonies are coming up, ABC's ALINA KLEINEIDAM notes. And as is the case every year, prominent political figures - from the president to members of his cabinet - are getting into the action, passing along their wisdom to the next generation. President Obama will deliver commencement speeches at three institutions this year: West Point Military Academy, Worcester Technical High School and the University of California, Irvine. Here's a roundup of which colleges and other big-name politicians .

SUPREME COURT JUSTICES STRUGGLE WITH ISSUE OF CELL PHONE SEARCHES. Most every justice on the bench at the Supreme Court showed concern yesterday for the issue presented in two cases addressing whether police need a warrant to search a cell phone incident to arrest, according to ABC's ARIANE DE VOGUE. But the justices struggled for two hours to come up with a reasonable rule to address privacy concerns and what one government lawyer called an "arms race between the forensic capabilities of law enforcement labs and the abilities of cell phone manufacturers and criminals to devise technologies that will thwart them." Orin Kerr, a professor at the George Washington University Law School wrote in The Washington Post after arguments that "The rule that seemed to have the most support, at least based on the arguments, was some kind of middle ground rule. Several Justices seemed to want a rule that preserved some kind of search power in some cases but wouldn't let the government search everything in every case."


RAPPER 50 CENT GETS RARE SENATE FLOOR SHOUT OUT. Hey all you senators in da club, do you know who 50 Cent is? On the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., referenced rapper 50 Cent, who became famous with hits like "In Da Club," "P.I.M.P," and "Candy Shop," while talking about the need to increase the minimum wage, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. But the California Democrat was a little confused about whether 50 Cent was a single artist or a complete band. "Eighteen increases in the minimum wage since 1956. Suppose the other side had taken that attitude, 'Don't raise it.' Well it would still be I guess a buck an hour, 50 cent if you're a kid. Today 50 Cent is a singing group, right? Am I right about that?" Boxer said. Watch the video here:


AMERICAN BRIDGE CALLS GOP 'WRONG' ON THE MINIMUM WAGE. To coincide with today's Senate vote on the minimum wage, the Democratic opposition research super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, is releasing a new web video morning hitting Republicans who oppose increasing it. "Whether they're already in Congress or running for governor, Republicans across the country are flat out wrong in their opposition to raising the minimum wage for hardworking Americans," Brad Woodhouse, President of American Bridge, said in a statement. "This legislation would help families and workers make ends meets and improve their quality of life, and Republicans in the Senate should take a hard look at the majority of the country that supports increasing the minimum wage before casting their no votes today." WATCH:


@SenScottBrown: Read my op-ed in the @UnionLeader calling for approval of the Keystone pipeline #nhpolitics

@mateagold: How outside groups are taking over the political airwaves, in 2 charts:

@emilyaheil: For this #WHCD, @Bobosphere predicts less celeb focus, but @MarkLeibovich thinks this town can't change.

@jaketapper: spotted: @JoelMcHale taking a run along the banks of the Potomac River here in Washington DC!

@1bobcohn: How a former Clinton aide helped the NBA commissioner navigate the Donald Sterling crisis. @ron_fournier …

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