On Friday, the Senate voted to reject the proposal to raise the minimum wage across the country to $15. This said proposal was backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Seven Democrats and one Independent in the Senate decided to vote against the said proposal. Even while the vote was not yet closed, by 12:15 p.m., every member of the Senate had already cast their vote.
Included among those who voted against the proposal are Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Angus King (I-Maine).
Among them, many were most surprised by how Sen. Coons had voted. Coons is one of President Joe Biden’s allies in the Senate. At the same time, many say it shouldn’t be surprising as both Coons and Carper represent Delaware, a business-friendly state.
In the end, the Senate voted 58-42 against the proposal that would have waived procedural objection against the inclusion of the wave provision in the current COVID-19 relief bill being worked on in Congress.
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This instance has now raised doubts if the president can increase the minimum wage during his first term.
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Prior to this vote, only Manchin was vocal among the Democrat senators about his opposition to the wage hike. He stated that he would be in favor of increasing it to $11 and indexing the wage minimum to inflation.
With this, it seems Biden will not be able to push for his priority regarding wages soon. What he can do, however, is to find a compromise regarding the matter. The federal minimum wage has not seen an increase since 2009.
Last week, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly broke the Byrd Rule. Therefore, this provision should not be included in the current COVID-19 relief bill that’s being worked on in congress. Democrats plan to approve the bill through a simple-majority vote, which falls under simple budget rules.
Despite the vote turnout regarding the proposal, Sanders promised that he will continue pushing to discuss the issue. He also said he was not surprised by the way things played out. He even said he was aware of “exactly what was happening.”