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Sen. Grassley, Rep. Rangel Debate Competing Minimum Wage Bills

A House committee Monday approved a $1.3 billion tax-relief package addendum to a bill raising the minimum wage, compared to a Senate bill that offers $8.3 billion in tax breaks. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, debate the competing bills.

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    Monday evening, the House Ways and Means Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Charlie Rangel, unanimously approved a modest package of small business tax breaks. The full House is expected to add those provisions to a bill calling for a $2.10 increase in the minimum wage over the next two years.

    On hand to congratulate Chairman Rangel was an unusual visitor from the other side of the Capitol: Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

    The Senate has also approved the minimum wage increase, but with tax breaks more than six times as large as those in the House bill. I sat down with Chairman Rangel and Sen. Grassley yesterday to find out if the differences between the rival bills can be worked out.

    Senator, Mr. Chairman, welcome to the program.

    SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), Iowa: Glad to be with you.


    Good to be with you.


    Well, the House has passed the minimum wage increase. The Senate has passed an increase with a tax-break package. Mr. Chairman, where do things stand in marrying those two? How are you going to bridge that divide?


    Well, I'm so glad, Ray, that you called this meeting, because I haven't the slightest idea what they're thinking about on the other side of the Capitol.

    As you pointed out, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill to approve the minimum wage for over 13 million people, and we sent it to the Senate with the understanding that it would have broad support over there.

    We sent it over. Republicans and Democrats support it. And maybe the distinguished senator from Iowa can share with us, what do they have against increasing the minimum wage for 13 million Americans?

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