Minimum Wage Proposal

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Alabama's two U-S Senators sided with the majority in defeating two proposals aimed at raising the minimum wage from its current level of five dollars-15 cents an hour.

Republicans Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby rejected proposals yesterday that would have increased hourly wages to one dollar and
ten cents over a year and-a-half.

It was defeated on a near-partyline vote of 51-to-47.

The Senate also defeated a Republican alternative that combined the same increase with various breaks and exemptions for small businesses. That vote was 57-to-42.

Senator Edward Kennedy, the bill's sponsor, argued that it was high time to raise the wage, which has been the same for the last eight years.

He said it was "absolutely unconscionable" that during that time, lawmakers have voted themselves seven pay raises worth 28-thousand dollars.

Republicans said higher minimum wages can work against the poor if they force small businesses to cut payrolls or go out of business.