Minimum wage resolution sparks heated House floor fight

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER -- Democrats and Republicans battled for five hours on the House floor Thursday morning -- and afternoon -- over a non-binding resolution to support a federal minimum wage hike.

The war of words served as an opportunity for both parties to play to their respective bases: big labor and big business.

Republicans, powerless to prevent the resolution from passing, which it did on a 38-24 vote after the long debate, made a point of arguing that increasing the minimum wage will force employers to cut jobs.

"Higher costs lead to fewer jobs," said Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, who appealed directly to some of his Democratic colleagues in the chamber.

"What will you tell your constituents who lose their jobs because of the minimum wage being raised?"

Democrats, meanwhile, argued that higher wages are good for both employees and employers -- that if workers at the bottom of the economic food chain take home more money, they'll be putting that money right back into the economy, spending more on goods and services.

"The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 900,000 people would be pulled out of poverty if we were able to raise the minimum wage," said Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver.

At one point, the resolution sponsor, Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, left the floor to speak at a press conference organized by labor unions in the west foyer.

"It doesn't make sense that people who work 40 hours a week would still have to worry about falling below the poverty line," Melton said to a crowd that included several low-wage workers.

"Every day, women across Colorado work hard to support their families and they still can't get by," said Barb Gertz, a Wal-Mart employee who took a minimum wage job a few years ago after her husband lost his job.

"My husband and I struggled to get by on my salary," she said. "There were days I missed work simply because I could not afford the gas to get there."

Republicans dragged out the debate by offering several amendments, most of which were defeated; and they blasted the Democratic House majority for pushing the resolution through.

"The majority party in the state of Colorado is once again telling Colorado citizens how to live your lives," said Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs. "Once again, you're sitting on your high perch in Denver telling the small business owner in Durango, Colorado 'we know how to run your business better than you do'."



      • Christopher Richardson

        I want you to have an incentive to work your way up above and entry level position. I want people to understand that the decisions they make in life have consequences. There is no reason why anyone should feel they can support a family on a minimum wage job. As a worker, you should be compensated for the value you provide to your employer. Not based on how much you want to spend.

      • Martin Harry

        To earn more you must perform a job that is valued more by an employer. If you price a job higher than it is worth to the employer, the job will be eliminated or it may be accomplished another way such as automation if it is comparably less expensive. Also, keep in mind raising the minimum wage puts upward pressure on all wages so not just the lowest paying positions are affected.

  • coloradocommish

    Democrats NEED fewer workers… or their “handouts” will become unnecessary, and “POOF”… there goes their power.
    A country that’s succesful and prosperous… will no longer have 50% of it’s citizens on welfare and collecting food stamps, will no longer need 99 weeks of “unemployment… and the 70 cents of every dollar NOW spent solely on payments to individuals… can actually be used it for “its” orignal intention… Security, Infrastructure, and enforcement of Federal Laws.
    The newest terminology… “Job Lock”…. is intellectual dishonesty, and destructive… and, sadly, many the ill-informed fall for it.

  • Fast45

    What’s next? Maybe doctors, lawyers, lawn and landscape workers, and mall clerks should all be paid the same. According to the Constitution, we are all equal, right?

    Keep on voting the way you’ve always voted, and you will get more of what we’ve always been getting … or, you can choose to vote out EVERY incumbent. Not a single one of them deserves their jobs.

  • Thomas Shea

    Everyday these poor people, stock your food, park your car, clean your house and then go to your second job and cook your food. All so your life can be easier and better, and then maybe MAYBE those people can pay half your bills. These are not jobs people love or want for thier kids, these are job that NEED to be done! So at lest we can do is pay the people enough to eat healthy food, pay for safe housing and send their kids to school.

  • Snarky Cosmos

    Ah the Congress of Baboons at the capitol strikes again pontificating at each other over something they have no control of at the federal level.

    Where can the taxpayers return these defective rejects so we can get our money back?

  • Yadid Good (@YadidGood)

    Last year, McDonald’s alone caused taxpayers $7 billion dollars in welfare to compensate for inadequate wages. McDonald’s makes around that same amount quarterly.

    How is that $7 billion not a “hand out”?

    Corporate welfare is worse than welfare for the common man, for the WORKING poor. Because this welfare isn’t used for bare necessities and only further screws the scraps of a middle class we have less as well as the working poor.

    And speaking of incentive, with this kind of welfare what kind of incentive do they have to pay their employees livable (not living) wages? This is truly where laziness is being incentivized, not the few hundred dollars that the working poor individual receives to get food stamps.

    2/3 of minimum wage service industry jobs come from large businesses like McDonald.

    And let’s get real, there’s little opportunity to not only move up at these entry level positions but also, barely any skills gained besides working under pressure and poor conditions.

    Corporate, not lower-class, welfare is the true problem in this country.
    Corporate welfare=socialism for the rich.

  • Snarky Cosmos

    @Martin Harry:

    Your comment is spot on, and now if only the others who don’t understand basic economics would go take a refresher Econ 101 course.

    Thanks for posting good common sense.

Comments are closed.