The bill passed with a strong bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives, as many Republican Congressmen (not Nebraska's) recognized this was an issue on which they could no longer defy the American public. As is, the minimum wage stands at its lowest real value in half a century, having remained fixed for almost a decade - a period during which members of Congress saw a pay raise of more than $30,000.
None of that holds any water with Hagel, who here reveals just what lies behind his bold talk on Iraq and his otherwise false pretensions of independence and bipartisanship.
It is at least great to see the Nebraska Democratic Party taking immediate action denouncing Hagel's vote. NDP Executive Director Matt Connealy stated in a press release, “It is deeply disappointing that Senator Hagel ignored the will of the American people and even President Bush’s own call for bipartisanship last night by rejecting a minimum wage hike for thousands of Nebraskans.”
Disappointing, indeed...but not surprising to those of us who have followed Hagel's record beyond the Sunday morning talk show circuit.
Not to defend the mistake I made this morning in reporting Hagel's vote on last summer's proposed "Gay Marriage Ban" Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but even here we see another example of the full extent of Hagel's hypocrisy. I'd originally reported that Hagel gave the Amendment a "Yes" vote, although Hagel did not actually participate in the vote and claimed his declaration of support only went so far as cloture and giving the measure a full vote before the Senate.
As the Lincoln Journal-Star reported at the time:
[Hagel] said he would have voted for cloture on the legislation, because he prefers moving most debates to an up-or-down vote.Well, lookie here. When it's the farthest reaches of the Right-Wing demanding the opportunity to use the Constitution to target and discriminate against gay families, Hagel thinks THEY deserve an up-or-down vote.
Now, when it's America's poor and working-class demanding the chance at a better life and fairer wages, Hagel's decided they don't deserve that same right. Five Republican Senators showed some common sense and common decency in voting for cloture on the vote to raise the minimum wage, but NOT CHUCK HAGEL!
Here, we can clearly see Hagel for who he is. Not a moderate. Not a maverick. Certainly not anything remotely resembling an independent.
Instead, he's standing in the way of such a long-overdue reform as raising the minimum wage for purely partisan reasons on behalf of the corporations, lobbyists, and special interests he truly represents.
I suspect we'll be seeing more of this hypocrisy as Hagel and his Republican colleagues attempt to silence the voice of the American people and make this Congress every bit as incompetent and ineffective as what we'd seen under the last 12 years of Republican domination. I just hope the voters of Nebraska and across the nation see those efforts for what they are and direct their righteous anger at those who should be held accountable.