WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate appears ready to hand a fresh defeat to President Barack Obama by blocking an election-year increase in the federal minimum wage.

Senators are expected to vote Wednesday on the Democratic measure. It faces all but certain rejection, thanks to strong Republican opposition.

The bill would gradually boost the $7.25 hourly minimum to $10.10 over 30 months.

Republicans say the legislation would be too costly for businesses and cause the loss of many jobs.

Democrats say the increase is a matter of fairness. They also say it's a winning political issue for them because it shows the GOP does not want to help struggling families.

Republicans say lawmakers should focus on bills that would create jobs.

The minimum wage has been at $7.25 since 2009.