One of President Biden’s top policy goals, an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, suffered a big setback Friday when eight members of the Senate Democratic caucus voted against it.
An effort by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to waive a procedural objection to adding the $15 minimum wage to a COVID 19-relief package was resoundingly defeated by a vote of 58 to 42 in which seven Democrats and one independent joined all 50 Republicans.
Here are the eight Democrats who voted against the $15 minimum wage:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
Manchin made clear last month that he opposed a $15 federal minimum wage and instead proposed $11 an hour, indexing it to inflation.
“I’m supportive of basically having something that’s responsible and reasonable," he said.
He hails from a state that voted overwhelmingly for former President Trump in 2016 and 2020, with 68 percent and 69 percent of the vote, respectively.
Manchin, the most conservative member of the Democratic conference, has emerged as a powerbroker in the 50-50 Senate where the defection of a single Democrat can derail Biden’s agenda.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)
Sinema is a Democrat with centrist leanings who is tough to predict.
She told Politico in February that she did not support adding a $15 minimum-wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief package.
She split with fellow Arizonan Sen. Mark Kelly (D), who voted Friday to waive a procedural objection to setting a $15 nationwide wage standard.
Sinema was criticized immediately when a video clip of the vote circulated online showing her striding to the Senate well in a stylish sweater and skirt and flashing a thumbs down with a little bouncing bend of her knees.
Robert Nichols, president of Arizona Progressive People’s Alliance, a non-profit group that supports progressive policies, slammed Sinema on Twitter for “gleefully voting” against the minimum wage amendment and said the senator was on "let them eat cake" vibes.
Nichols’s Twitter alias is Bobby Boucher, JD.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Shaheen has expressed concerns about Sanders’s proposal to slowly raise the minimum wage for workers who receive tips, such as servers and busboys, to $15 an hour, eventually getting rid of the special “tipped wage” altogether.
“I support the minimum wage increase but I’m concerned about including the tipped wage provision because of the current status of the restaurant industry. We’ve had so many closings,” she said, adding the industry is in “difficult straits.”
Shaheen easily won reelection last year with 57 percent of the vote but New Hampshire has traditionally been a battleground state.
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.)
Hassan often sticks with her home-state colleague Shaheen and was spotted this week attending a bipartisan luncheon hosted by Manchin in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
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Submitted 47 days ago