A bill that attempted to tie a cut in the estate tax to a minimum wage increase and selected tax cuts designed to lure swing votes failed by a vote of 56-42, falling four votes short of the required 60 votes.
U.S. Senator from Colorado Ken Salazar, who is often a swing vote, sided with most Democrats in opposing the bill. So too did three Senators, two from Washington State and one from Arkansas, whose vote Republicans had tried to sway with timber industry tax cuts targeted at their states. Four Democrats, Boyd, Lincoln and both Nelsons, sided with Republicans and Senator Lieberman didn’t vote. Two Republicans, Voinovich and Chafee (plus Senator Frist for procedurall reasons) joined Democrats in opposing the bill.
The vote keeps the minimum wage ballot issue in Colorado, which appears that it has sufficient signatures to make the ballot, relevant, something that should help Colorado Democrats with voter turnout in the fall.
While Salazar is not necessarily opposed to some kind estate tax cut, he felt that it was not appropriate to link that decision to the other matters in the “trifecta” bill, and the minimum wage provisions were viewed by labor groups as flaws, actually hurting tipped employees in many states.