Bernie Sanders Stimulus Amendment for $15 Federal Minimum Wage Fails in Senate

A last-ditch effort by Senator Bernie Sanders to restore a minimum-wage hike to the pandemic-relief bill is headed to defeat with 42 votes in favor and 58 against.

The vote hasn’t been made final, though there is almost no chance it would change. It remained open while Democrats attempted to nail down support for their plan to extend supplemental unemployment through September.

The Senate parliamentarian had previously ruled that the phased-in increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 fell afoul of budget-reconciliation rules, which Democrats are using to get the Covid-19 aid bill through the Senate with just a simple majority vote.

Sanders’s bid to waive the rules and restore the wage hike would have required 60 senators of 100 senators to agree to go along with the amendment. But it failed to get even a majority.

“An unelected staffer in the Senate should not be in charge of determining whether 32 million workers in America receive a raise,” Sanders said on the Senate floor.

There wasn’t even majority support within the Democratic caucus. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema was among the Democrats who voted against it, saying the chamber should look at the issue separate from the relief legislation.

“The Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process on raising the minimum wage, separate from the Covid-focused reconciliation bill,” Sinema said in a statement.

Also voting against the attempt were Democratic senators Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, Tom Carper and Chris Coons as well as independent Angus King.

Biden has called on lawmakers to move ahead with his proposed wage hike on a standalone basis.

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