Independent Sen. Angus King (ME) caucuses with the Democrats, but broke away to vote no on the amendment.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) $15 minimum wage amendment to the COVID-19 relief bill failed after seven Democrats, and one independent voted against it.
It went down 58-42.
Those who voted against it are:
- Sen. Tom Carper (DE)
- Sen. Chris Coons (DE)
- Sen. Maggie Hassan (NH)
- Sen. Angus King (I-ME)
- Sen. Joe Manchin (WV)
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
- Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)
- Sen. Jon Tester (MT)
All Republicans voted no, including moderates Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME).
Manchin and Sinema are not surprising because they made it known they would not vote for the minimum wage hike. This piece will be updated once those who voted no explain their votes. Sinema released her statement:
— Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) March 5, 2021
The minimum wage amendment did not make it into the COVID-19 Relief bill because Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled it out under budget reconciliation.
Reconciliation allows the Senate to push through budget legislation and prevent usage of the filibuster. But the Byrd Rule, named after Sen. Robert Byrd, can stop that from happening. It “allows senators to block provisions of reconciliation bills that are ‘extraneous’ to reconciliation’s basic purpose of implementing budget changes.”
The Democrats and Republicans argued their cases, but MacDonough stuck to her original decision.
If the bill contained the minimum wage language, it would have to pass with 60 votes.
Sanders has already vowed to keep fighting for the amendment:
“Federal minimum wage, which has not been raised since 2007 by Congress is a starvation wage. $7.25 an hour. If anybody thinks that we’re giving up on this issue, they are sorely mistaken,” Sanders said.
“We are going to, if we have to vote on it time and time again, we will, and we’re going to succeed. The American people understand that we cannot continue to have millions of people working for starvation wages. The American people want to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, $15 an hour, and we’re going to accomplish that,” he continued.
When asked if he was surprised by the number of Democrats who voted against it, Sanders said, “no, we knew exactly what was happening.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told the press that the White House is not involved in the conversations:
“We agree with Senator Sanders and the President is going to be standing right alongside him fighting for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour because men and women who are working hard to make ends meet shouldn’t be living at the poverty level and he will use his political capital to get that done,” Psaki said at a White House briefing.
Psaki said: “The President his team are not engaged in conversations or negotiations about lowering the threshold for the minimum wage, just to be crystal clear on that.”
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