Democrats said the only way Republicans would give a pay raise is to offer a reduction in the estate tax and $38 billion in tax breaks. "This is the worst special-interest bill I have seen," said Sen. Durbin, D-Ill.
The raise would have been $2.10 phased in through 2009. The estate taxes are an inheritance tax on property transfers after a person dies. Sen. Hutchison R-TX said, "We are turning our backs on the middle-class and poor."
The bill also provided that tips could be counted towards the minimum wage which would effectively lower waiter's wages up to $5 per hour according to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash). The failure of the bill was a huge loss for Sen. Bill Frist, R-MD.