The Senate today cleared the way for passage of a minimum wage bill that could impose new limits on use of non-qualified deferred compensation plans.

Members of the Senate voted 87-10 to limit debate on amendments to the bill, H.R. 2.

The vote is important because, in the Senate, opponents of a bill can block consideration simply by threatening to engage in a filibuster, or endless debate against the bill. Opponents of a bill need only 40 votes to organize a filibuster.

The House earlier passed a “clean” version of H.R. 2 that would increase the minimum wage to $7.25, from $5.15, over 2 years but does not include sections that would create new tax breaks or sections such as the deferred comp provisions that would create new sources of revenue to pay for the tax breaks.

Bush administration officials appear to support the Senate version.

The deferred comp provisions would put a $1 million cap on executives’ ability to put large, tax-free contributions into deferred compensation plans, and it also could hurt sales of tax-deferred comp plans to lower-paid executives, insurance industry experts say.