RUSH: Senator Kennedy, upset, ladies and gentlemen. (story) ?The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to move ahead on a bill to increase the minimum wage, signaling that the measure is likely to pass this week. But the vote also sets up a conflict with the House that is likely to stall any increase. The Senate bill includes $8.3 billion in tax breaks for small businesses that Democrats who sponsored the bill said were necessary to obtain Republican support.? See, they only have 50 votes over there, the Democrats, because Tim Johnson is still in the hospital. You need 60 votes to pass and they don’t have it. The Republicans run the Senate, I don’t care what anybody says, if they’ve got the guts to. The Republicans can stop anything in the Senate. They have no power in the House. Well, Senator Kennedy is beside himself over this still. This is yesterday morning on the floor of the Senate.
KENNEDY: We see the great tragedy that we had down in Katrina, and we saw the attempts to rebuild Katrina. What was the first thing the administration said? Well, eliminate any coverage or protection for workers in terms of their wages down there, drive wages down even further in New Orleans. What is it about people that — in the construction industry, they average I think it’s $29,000 a year, construction, $29,000 a year. Too much for our Republican friends? $10,000 — don’t want to, for a working person, man, woman, who?s at the minimum wage, and they refuse to give some increase to send that to 7.25. Here you have the average construction at $28,000 a year, and you’re saying that’s too high, that’s too high.
RUSH: Who’s saying it’s too high? Nobody is saying it’s too high. You need to go talk to John Edwards. You guys need to reallocate your own resources here, rather than trying to spend everybody else’s money, senator. He went on with this.
KENNEDY: President Bush was first — eliminated the first hearings that we had I think in our committee was to eliminate the protections that have been recommended by President Clinton in the area of ergonomics, particularly affecting women that spend a great deal of times on computers —
RUSH: Stop the tape. What he is saying — I need to translate this for you — he is saying that Bush wants to give workers, especially women, carpal tunnel syndrome, too. He wants them to get it.
KENNEDY: — others, in the meat packing industry, in the poultry industry, people that have repetitive kinds of procedures in terms of workers. But, protecting workers, hard working, doing some of the most difficult work in America, we did something, but, oh, no, the Republican leadership said, oh, no, we’re not going to do that, we’re not going to provide for those — protection for those workers.
RUSH: So that’s probably some of the most articulate debate that we had from the Senate Democrats. Senator Kennedy, I wouldn’t say he looks clean, looks thirsty to me. Senator Kennedy looks more and more thirsty each time I gaze at him. But they’re just beside themselves over this because the Republicans have gotten in the way of the minimum wage increase by wanting tax breaks for the big business people. Small business people are going to have to pay for it. And this can happen on every piece of legislation if the Republicans hold together.