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Bernie Sanders' Minimum Wage Bid Is Rejected

Senator's workaround to add measure to relief bill falls short
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2021 2:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Sen. Bernie Sanders tried again for a $15 federal minimum wage Friday but was undercut by a handful of Democrats. On a 58-42 vote—though the final count could change—the Senate rejected an attempt to slip the minimum wage increase into President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the Hill reports. (Sanders was trying to find a way around this decision by the Senate parliamentarian.) After falling two votes short, Sanders said he'll try something else. "If anybody thinks that we’re giving up on this issue, they are sorely mistaken," he said. "The American people understand that we cannot continue to have millions of people working for starvation wages." Sen. Joe Manchin, who's in position to decide the fate of a lot of legislation, was among the Democrats who voted against Sanders' measure.

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The others were Sens. Chris Coons, Kyrsten Sinema, Jon Tester, Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, and Tom Carper. Independent Angus King sided with them. Sinema said she backs raising the minimum wage but wants it debated on its own, apart from pandemic relief, per Politico. A spokesman for the organization Justice Democrats criticized the group of senators for telling "millions of essential workers earning poverty wages that they are ‘heroes’ but they don’t deserve a $15 minimum wage." A Senate candidate in next year's election, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, said "every single senator who voted against a $15 minimum wage today should be forced to live on $7.25 an hour so that they can demonstrate to all of us how it's possible." (Read more minimum wage stories.)

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