Senate rejects Bernie Sanders proposal for $15 minimum wage in coronavirus relief package

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 (Independent)
(Independent)

A proposal from Bernie Sanders to raise the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 from its current $7.25 failed in the Senate after the senator sought to include the measure in a White House-backed coronavirus relief package.

The House of Representatives included the wage hike in its version of its $1.9 trillion legislation, which includes unemployment relief, support for families with children, and funding for schools and vaccine distribution, among other initiatives critical to Joe Biden’s plan to combat the pandemic and its economic fallout a year after the outbreak.

After the Senate rules-advising parliamentarian shot down the inclusion of a wage increase in the bill, Senator Sanders vowed to introduce an amendment to put it into the legislation.

On 5 March, all Senate Republicans and several Democrats rejected the amendment. It needed 60 votes to pass.

The senator said on Friday that he believes the parliamentarian’s decision was “dead wrong” and part of an “absurd process” to allow an unelected official to determine “whether 30 million Americans get a pay raise.”

“At a time when millions of workers are earning starvation wages, when the minimum wage has not been raised by Congress since 2007 and stands at a pathetic $7.25 an hour, it is time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage,” the senator said in a statement this week.

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