Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware, Chris Coons of Delaware, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana voted against the proposal. Sen. Angus King of Maine, who is an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats, also voted against the measure.
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough last week ruled against a proposal to include the wage hike in Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, but Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced an amendment that needed votes from all 48 Senate Democrats, the two independents — Sanders and King and who traditionally vote Democratic — and at least 10 Republicans to pass.
“At a time when millions of people are working for starvation wages, when the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not been raised by Congress since 2007, when the President of the United States and the House of Representatives support it, it is absolutely imperative that the Senate approve an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” Sanders said in a statement in response to the news.
He added that it will not be the “last time” senators vote on a minimum wage bill for “332 million Americans.”
“We’re going to keep bringing it up, and we’re going to get it done because it is what the American people demand and need,” he said.
Coons said in a Friday statement that he would work with his colleagues “on legislation to raise the minimum wage and index it annually,” saying a minimum wage of $7.25 “is too low and has been for too long.”
Sinema said senators “in both parties have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage and the Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process on raising the minimum wage, separate from the COVID-focused reconciliation bill.”
“No person who works full time should live in poverty,” she said, adding that she “will keep working with colleagues in both parties to ensure Americans can access good-paying jobs, quality education, and skills training to build more economically secure lives for themselves and their families.”
Critics of the $15 minimum wage proposal say such a large hike would hurt small businesses that are already suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and living costs differ from state to state.
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