An effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 failed on Wednesday, as the issue was not able to clear a procedural vote in the Senate. Senators predominantly voted across party lines, which places Democratic senators in favor and Republican senators opposed.
According to published reports, while the defeat was expected it is serving as a rallying cry for Democrats preparing their next campaign.
"The senators who voted 'no' … are doing so contrary to the wishes of the American people," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday. "So what we have seen since the President has been forcefully arguing for raising the minimum wage is support for that proposition around the country," he said. "We’ve seen states acting individually to raise the minimum wage, and that is very heartening."
Carney was referring to Hawaii, which recently raised its minimum wage to $10.10. And in Seattle on Thursday, the minimum wage for that city was raised to $15.
Minimum wage is a hotly contested issue. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of April 8, 38 states considered minimum wage bills during the 2014 session; 34 states are considering increases to the state minimum wage.
In addition to Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia and D.C. have enacted increases so far in 2014. As of Jan. 1, 2014, 21 states and D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.