http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060727/pl_nm/congress_wage_dc WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Republicans worried about their political fate inched toward a vote on Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, but Democrats called it an empty gesture. Rep. Steven LaTourette (news, bio, voting record), an Ohio Republican active in the negotiations, said the deadlock over the wage hike had been broken. "The vote to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over three years will be held tomorrow," he said. A House leadership aide said a vote was likely, but no firm decision had been made. The bill that will come before the U.S. House of Representatives will likely be coupled with a controversial small business health plan that could sink the initiative.