U.S. to raise minimum wage

Increase part of larger bill on Iraq spending, tax breaks

After 10 years without an increase to the United States minimum wage, the House of Representatives and the Senate finally passed a bill that will see an increase of $2.10.

The House passed the bill, which was part of a larger bill on spending in Iraq, by a vote of 348 to 73 on May 24. Only a couple hours later, the Senate voted to pass the bill by a vote of 80 to 14.

The bill will increase the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 in three stages over two years. The bill includes $4.84 billion in tax breaks for small businesses, which made the case to Republicans that an increase in the minimum wage would be a financial hardship for them.

President George Bush has said he would sign the bill.

The House and Senate had approved the increase several months ago, but disagreements over the tax breaks stalled the measure.

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