On Wednesday, senate Republicans blocked a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, with the bill failing by a 54-42 test vote.
Republicans were expected to block the bill; all but one voted to sustain a filibuster against it, saying the move would damage the economy and force businesses to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs.
"The proposal before the Senate throws cold water on job creation and it adds to the burdens business are already facing," Sen. Mike Enzi, (R-Wyo.) told the New York Times. "Instead the Senate should be considering proposals which promote job growth."
Democrats are hoping that the broadly popular wage hike, which a HuffPost poll found that more than 60 percent of Americans would support, would appeal to voters this midterm election year. The federal minimum wage, $7.25, has been unchanged since 2009.
"It's time for Republicans in Congress to listen to the majority of Americans who say it's time to give America a raise," President Obama said in a written statement. He also praised lawmakers in Hawaii, who voted Tuesday to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
Wednesday's debate found Democrats and Republicans treading familiar ground, as the former argued that the weakening wage floor has left more and more low-income workers impoverished, while the latter said the bill would hurt more people than it helps.
"It would be great if we lived in a world where Washington dictates what wages can be," Sen. John Coryn (R-Texas) told HuffPost. "And peace, love, and happiness will break out, the Age of Aquarius, because Washington has somehow distributed free money."
Supporters in several states, including Arkansas and Alaska, are making moves to raise their minimum wages, while majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could bring it back for a vote at any time--and said that he would.
"This is a moral issue," he told the New York times after the vote. "It's not about who's going to vote for whom."