[guest post by JVW]
Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) proposed amendment to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 failed in the Senate on Friday, with seven Democrats and one independent joining Republicans in voting down the measure.
Senators Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.), Chris Coons (D., Del.) Tom Carper (D., Del.) and Angus King (I., Maine.) voted against an attempt to waive a procedural objection against adding the wage hike to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Because the Senate parliamentarian had earlier ruled that the minimum wage hike could not be considered as part of a budgetary bill and would thus require 60 votes to waive that rule in order to proceed, these Democrats (and Sen. King) could have made party activists happy by voting in favor and then lamenting that those nasty Republicans blocked the bill by not providing their assent. So I find it kind of surprising that those eight Senators who caucus with Democrats were willing to go on record as being against the federal rise in the minimum wage. I am scouring their Twitter feeds to see if any of them have addressed the issue, and it appears that only Sen. Sinema has stepped up to the plate to say that she favors a higher minimum wage, but feels that attaching it to a COVID bill was not appropriate. Perhaps we will hear more from them over the weekend, but surely she understands that it is highly unlikely to survive a filibuster as a separate bill in a 50-50 Senate.
This was not at all unexpected, with even the President acknowledging that Democrats would be likely forced to sacrifice the higher minimum wage in this go-around. The battle carries on, with everyone’s favorite grouchy Marxist, Senator Bernard Sanders, vowing to bring this bill up again and again until Democrats have managed to bring inflation to such a level that $15 is the price of two Taco Supremes, a bean burrito, and a medium Pepsi at Taco Bell, at which point we could compound our misery by artificially raising wages which won’t matter much to the robots assembling your drive-thru lunch anyway. But the Democrats run the show now (just barely), so be prepared for all sorts of this kind of stuff coming up.