Senate Rejects Boost in Minimum Wage, Sanders Says ‘They’re Not Giving up on the Issue’

The U.S. Senate on Friday voted against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

The New York Times reports that it took close to 12 hours for lawmakers to come to decision on the proposal sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), despite the fact that it would wipe out millions of jobs, drive up the cost of goods and services, and would contribute to increases in federal spending. 

Democrats who rejected the bill included: Senators Joe Manchin III (WV), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Maggie Hassan (NH), Tom Carper (DE), Chris Coons (DE), and Jon Tester of (MT). 

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But some Democrats said they would discuss the proposal again after the stimulus package is signed into law.

“Senators in both parties have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage, and the Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process on raising the minimum wage, separate from the COVID-focused reconciliation bill,” Sinema said.

And Sanders told reporters recently that he’ll continue to push for the measure.

“If anybody thinks that we’re giving up on this issue, they are sorely mistaken,” Sanders asserted. “If we have to vote on it time and time again, we will — and we’re going to succeed.”

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On Feb. 1, the Congressional Budget Office released its prediction that the US economy would bounce back to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of the year even without any new COVID relief from the government.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the Senate would “power through” on passing the coronavirus relief bill.

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