The two bills passed by the House last Friday and Saturday reflect a single Republican electoral strategy. Representatives want to appear to have accomplished something when they face voters during their five-week summer break, which starts today, and at the same time keep campaign donations flowing from special-interest constituents who are well aware that a great deal was left to do.
One of the bills was a pension reform measure. The other was a grab bag that contains three main items: an extension of the expired tax credit for corporate research; a $2.10 an hour increase in the minimum wage, to be phased in over three years; and a multibillion-dollar estate-tax cut. That’s the deal House Republicans are really offering — a few more dollars for 6.6 million working Americans; billions more for some 8,000 of the wealthiest families.
...This is an attempt at extortion. There is no way to justify providing yet another enormous tax shelter to the nation’s wealthiest heirs in the face of huge budget deficits, growing income inequality and looming government obligations for Social Security and Medicare.
...The Senate has one week before its summer recess. As the senators struggle to produce decent legislation from the House’s sham bills, Americans will see the truth: their representatives in the House went on vacation without doing their job. [Emphasis added]
I think the Times editorialist is being a bit optimistic if it is counting on the GOP controlled Senate to roll back the egregious bill misnomered the "minimum wage bill." Only a third of the Senate is up for re-election, and only a few incumbent Republicans are facing stiff competition in their races. While the Senate has voted down the inheritance tax bills it has considered to date, most Republicans like the idea of cutting taxes for the wealthy.
Still, if enough constituents scream about this egregious give-away, and the press keeps it in the public eye, it is possible that the Senate will let the measure die or at least will propose a bill of its own that raises the minimum wage, and another which deals with pension reform in a sensible way. Once again, it's up to the voters this year.