WASHINGTON – A group of Democratic Senators, along with all Senate Republicans, voted against Senator Bernie Sanders’ proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour on Friday.
The independent Vermonter attempted to include the provision in President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 stimulus bill when the Senate considered the $ 1.9 trillion measure. But efforts failed with a vote between 58 and 42, in which eight members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus voted against.
The vote began at 11:03 a.m. EST on Friday and did not officially end for nearly 12 hours as Democrats and Republicans negotiated changes to an extension of unemployment benefits.
The result of the vote could spell trouble for future democratic attempts to raise the minimum wage, which Biden included in his first stimulus proposal passed by parliament last week.
The eight Democratic caucus members who voted against the measure are:
- Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
- Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V.
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H.
- Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
- Sen. Angus King, I-Maine (King is a member of the Democratic Caucus)
- Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.
- Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
- Sen. Maggie Hassan, DN.H.
Sanders, a supporter of the wage increase, said earlier in the Senate that the issue of the minimum wage increase was a “national emergency”.
He told reporters after the vote that he wasn’t surprised at the number of Democrats who voted against.
“No, we knew exactly what was going on,” he said.
In a statement, Sanders said this would not be the last time he would try to put the wage increase to a vote.
“If a senator thinks this will be the last time he’ll vote on whether or not to give 32 million Americans a raise, they’re deeply mistaken. We’ll bring it up and we’ll get it.” it happened because it is what the American people want and need, “he said.
Sanders tried to reintroduce the wage increase into the bill after a key Senate official, the MP, ruled that it could not stay on the bill. Democrats are using a process called reconciliation to push $ 1.9 trillion in legislation. It allows Democrats to pass bills by simple majority, but it subjects them to certain rules, making it harder to include provisions like the minimum wage in the final bill.
Republicans have come to an agreement against the $ 15 proposal, citing opposition from some small businesses and analysis by the impartial Congressional Budget Office that it would lose an estimated 1.4 million jobs. The same analysis found that this would increase the pay of up to 27 million Americans and lift nearly 1 million people out of poverty.
Higher wages increase the cost of employers in producing goods and services, and these costs are generally passed on to consumers, who typically buy fewer goods and services, according to the CBO. As a result, employers who have to cut production tend to have fewer workers.