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House Democrats launched a discharge petition on Tuesday meant to force a vote on legislation to increase the minimum wage and also highlight Republican opposition to the measure.
The rarely successful parliamentary move would need 218 signatures to force a vote to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. The petition currently has 155 signatures, all of which are Democrats.
The effort, which was officially kicked off at a rally in the Capitol this afternoon, is expected to fail.
Since 1967, only 12 measures have obtained the necessary signatures using a discharge petition to force action on the House floor. In many cases, even if members of the majority party support a measure, they will not buck their own leadership and sign onto a petition filed by the minority.
This particular situation occurred when the government shut down last year, and Democrats filed a discharge petition on a clean bill to reopen the government. While a number of moderate Republicans supported a clean bill to reopen the government, they would not sign onto the Democrat's petition.
With the current breakdown of the House, if all 200 Democrats signed the petition, they would need 18 Republicans to cross the aisle and sign it as well.