Issues before Congress last week
$7.25 Minimum Wage
Senators failed, 52-46, to reach 60 votes needed to advance a bid by Democrats to raise the minimum hourly wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over 26 months. Congress last raised the base wage in 1997. A yes vote backed a 41% minimum-wage hike.
GOP Wage Plan
Senators defeated, 45-53, a GOP bid to raise the hourly minimum wage to $6.25 over 18 months while reducing the number of companies required to pay it under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. A yes vote backed the GOP minimum-wage plan.
2007 Defense Appropriations
Members voted, 407-19, to appropriate $377.6 billion for the Department of Defense in fiscal 2007. The bill also provides $50 billion to pay for six months of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A yes vote was to send HR 5631 to the Senate.
Domestic Spying Checks
Members refused, 207-219, to put President Bush's program of domestic spying in pursuit of terrorists under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The president says he can order the spying as commander in chief. A yes vote backed FISA-court controls.
War Powers Dispute
Members defeated, 158-262, a bid to require prior congressional approval of military acts against Iran, in accord with the Constitution's Article I, Section 8. A yes vote backed the amendment to HR 5631 over arguments it could bar quick response to urgent threats.
Permanent Iraq Bases
Voting 50-376, members refused to strip HR 5631 of its ban on the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. This kept the ban in the bill. The issue is now before the Senate. A yes vote was to remove the ban from the defense bill.