Manchin says he doesn’t support raising minimum wage to $15 per hour

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that he does not support increasing the minimum age to $15 an hour — a critical roadblock to including the proposal in the final coronavirus relief bill.

“No I’m not. I’m supportive of basically having something that’s responsible and reasonable,” Manchin told The Hill, asked if he is supportive of a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Manchin added that for West Virginia, his home state, that would be $11 per hour, and adjusted to inflation.

Manchin’s opposition underscores the headaches awaiting Democrats as they try to craft a final coronavirus relief bill.

Democrats are poised to pass a budget resolution this week that allows them to pass a subsequent coronavirus bill with only a majority, bypassing the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

The budget resolution will greenlight a coronavirus bill of up to $1.9 trillion, the same amount backed by President Biden.

Democrats are expected to craft legislation that largely mirrors Biden’s proposal, which includes a $1,400 stimulus check, more state and local aid, unemployment assistance and an increase in the minimum wage to $15.

Increasing the minimum wage has been a top priority and a memo from the staff director for incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) touted that the budget resolution would allow for a coronavirus bill that raises the federal minimum wage “from a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour to a living wage.”

Democrats have been split over whether the minimum wage provision will survive arcane Senate rules that determine what can, and cannot, be passed under reconciliation.

But if it does, Manchin’s opposition to a $15 per hour minimum wage underscores that specifics of the bill are likely to change during weeks-long negotiations.

In order to pass a bill without GOP support, Democrats will need every member of their 50-vote caucus to support the eventual coronavirus legislation.

Manchin, in a statement, confirmed that he would vote for the budget resolution, but warned that he wants the final bill to be “targeted.”

“Let me be clear — and these are words I shared with President Biden — our focus must be targeted on the COVID-19 crisis and Americans who have been most impacted by this pandemic. The President remains hopeful that we can have bipartisan support moving forward. I will only support proposals that will get us through and end the pain of this pandemic,” Manchin said in a statement.

Tags Bernie Sanders Coronavirus COVID-19 Joe Manchin Minimum wage West Virginia
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