Biden Can't Even Get His Handlers Instructions Right

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) backed a Republican amendment blocking the raising of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour during the pandemic in Thursday’s late-night Senate “vote-a-rama” session, which involved consideration of multiple amendments to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.

Following the nearly 15-hour long marathon session, the Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday morning, a preliminary step to budget reconciliation—the process that will allow Senate Democrats to pass the relief bill by a simple majority, rather than a 60-vote supermajority, which would require some GOP buy-in.

At one point during the vote-a-rama, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) proposed an amendment that would ban the $15 minimum wage boost during the pandemic.

“A $15 federal minimum wage would be devastating for our hardest-hit small businesses at a time when they can least afford it,” Ernst said.

Sanders, a vocal proponent of raising the minimum wage, responded to the initiative by saying he would support not raising it during the pandemic.

“It was never my intention to increase the minimum wage to $15 immediately and during the pandemic,” Sanders said. “My legislation gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period and that is what I believe we have got to do.”

The amendment then passed the Senate by a voice vote, averting the need for roll call vote that would have forced Democrats to go on the record on the minimum wage, potentially highlighting fissures within the party on the issue.

One of those to earlier flag his opposition to a $15 minimum wage is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who has suggested that a lower, $11 minimum wage would be more appropriate for West Virginia.

Asked on Tuesday whether he would back a $15 minimum wage, Manchin told The Hill: “No I’m not. I’m supportive of basically having something that’s responsible and reasonable.”

Ernst took to Twitter after midnight to express her satisfaction with the adoption of the amendment.

“Tonight I got the entire Senate—Democrats and Republicans—to agree not to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour during a global pandemic, which would kill jobs and destroy small businesses,” she wrote in the tweet.

 

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