Bernie Sanders promises Senate vote on $15 minimum wage as Democrats get ready to approve the stimulus package

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Charles Davis,Joseph Zeballos-Roig
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US Senator Bernie Sanders, Chairman of the Budget Committee, speaks during a committee hearing regarding wages at large corporations, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2021. STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday he will push for a vote on raising the minimum wage.

  • The pledge comes after the Senate parliamentarian ruled against passing a wage hike by reconciliation.

  • "If we fail in this legislation, I will be back," Sanders said.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday he will introduce an amendment to raise the minimum wage after a Senate parliamentarian ruled against including it in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

"I intend to offer the bill that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and we'll see how the votes go," the Vermont independent told reporters. "But let me be very clear: If we fail in this legislation, I will be back. We're going to keep going and, if it takes 10 votes, we're going to raise that minimum wage very shortly."

Sanders said his bill would seek to add the wage increase, phased in between now and 2025, back into the stimulus measure.

"This is the soul of the Democratic Party," he said. "The minimum wage has got to be raised to a living wage."

He also called on Democrats to ignore the parliamentarian's ruling, a step many progressives are starting to call for.

"The idea we have a high-ranking Senate staffer deciding whether 30 million Americans get a pay raise is nonsensical," Sanders said. "We have got to make that decision, not a staffer who is unelected."

Sanders had earlier proposed a way to get around the Senate parliamentarian's ruling by imposing a new tax on large companies that did not raise employee wages to a higher amount. But speaking Monday, he said that approach, upon further consideration, was flawed.

"It turns out it has unintended consequences," he said, noting that the targeted companies could skirt the penalty by turning employees into independent contractors.

Sanders, while critical of the parliamentarian's power to dictate Senate procedure - and urging Democratic leaders to override the decision - saved most of his anger for the filibuster.

If Democrats want to go big, on everything from health care to job creation, he said the Senate has to do away with the 60-vote threshold for passing most legislation. "We cannot have a minority preventing that from happening," he said.

But others in the Democratic caucus continue to pose an obstacle. On Monday, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia once again emphasized that he would "never" support getting rid of the filibuster. The White House also ruled it out on Monday.

Meanwhile, Republicans are staunchly opposed to a $15 an hour minimum wage, arguing it will cost jobs. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, a member of GOP leadership, said she was open to supporting a wage increase, but it depended on the components of a proposal.

"I'm pretty adamant about states and localities kind of determining what's right for their own state," she told Insider. "I do think it's a discussion we need to have."

Read the original article on Business Insider