Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has readied an amendment to the bankruptcy bill (otherwise known as the "Your Senator is in debt to credit card companies" bill) to raise the minimum wage. In response, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is offering a watered down version with all sorts of regulatory relief for business. (What's the matter? Can't do anything just for workers?)
Both are probably destined to fail, in part because of what Tom DeLay has said about the bankruptcy bill's prospects after leaving the Senate. According to AP:
A minimum wage increase faces a tougher road in the more conservative House. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said late last week that the House was ready to quickly pass the Senate's bankruptcy bill under the condition that the Senate reject any further substantive amendments.
DeLay also had said that the House had no plans to vote this year on a minimum wage increase, which business groups claim would drive up costs and force small businesses to lay off workers.
And then, DeLay's logic must go, after they're laid off, these low-income workers will rack up more credit card debt and have to eventually declare bankruptcy. But not if the bankruptcy bill passes. The workers would have the same protections. Therefore, an increase of the minimum wage and the bankruptcy bill are at odds. Gotta choose one. DeLay chooses the industry that had $30 billion in profits rather than minimum wage workers. Not a hard choice, given his $337,150 in campaign contributions from the industry.