Huffington Post: Minimum Wage Emerging As Key Issue In Montana Senate Race Between Jon Tester, Denny Rehberg

Both Democrats and Republicans will be trying to convince voters in the 2012 elections that their party is better for Americans’ pocketbooks. There are already debates over which party has better ideas for creating jobs, reducing the deficit and increasing the solvency of entitlement programs.

This broad economic debate is being played out starkly in Montana’s U.S. Senate race, where incumbent Jon Tester (D) is facing a challenge from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.). The race, already heated 18 months before Election Day, is being watched closely by both parties and a recent poll had the two candidates running in a dead heat.

This week, Tester’s office will be highlighting the senator’s consistent support for raising the minimum wage, according to a spokesman. The move comes on the four-year anniversary of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which gradually raised the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour.

The focus will no doubt be intended to draw a distinction with Rehberg. While Tester voted for the bill, Rehberg opposed it. (82 of Rehberg’s House Republican colleagues voted for the increase.)

Rehberg instead supported an alternative Republican proposal that paired the minimum wage increase with a repeal of the estate tax, the inheritance tax on multi-million dollar estates.

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