Will Bernie Sanders give up on $15 minimum wage? 'Dont Kill it Bernie' trends as House set to pass Covid aid bill

The Vermont Senator is determined to pass the wage hike despite ruling that it can't be a part of the Covid-19 relief bill

Will Bernie Sanders give up on $15 minimum wage? 'Dont Kill it Bernie' trends as House set to pass Covid aid bill
Sen Bernie Sanders wants to increase the minimum wage to $15 in the Covid relief bill (Getty Images)
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The Democrats planned to add the wage increase to the Covid-19 relief bill, but it was shot down by the Senate parliamentarian. That means the Democrats need to find another way to pass the hike. Meanwhile, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted "we must not give up. We must get this done" as he attempted to increase the minimum wage to $15.  

The House of Representatives announced that they were going ahead with a vote on the bill, with the wage hike included, despite the parliamentarian's ruling. If that's the case, the Senate would debate the relief bill, but without the wage hike. In order to ensure that the $15 hike finds its way to the people, Sanders is now working on multiple other options. Interestingly, the hike has bipartisan support with Missouri Senator Josh Hawley also supporting the increase. 

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I strongly disagree with the parliamentarian’s ruling about the minimum wage. But the people are demanding an end to starvation wages in America. We will not give up. We must get this done. pic.twitter.com/qt6mYJU7fl

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 26, 2021

 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at town hall at the National Motorcycle Museum on January 3, 2020, in Anamosa, Iowa (Getty Images)

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It is unclear how the Democrats plan to pass the hike as of now. Amending the language in the Covid-19 bill could lead to a delay in much-needed relief for millions, and a separate bill is highly unlikely to pass the Senate. Apart from Hawley, few Republicans have backed a hike from the current $7.25 an hour. Biden himself has stated that the idea may be dead. In a private meeting with governors, he reportedly said, "I really want this in there but it just doesn't look like we can do it because of reconciliation... I’m not going to give up. But right now, we have to prepare for this not making it.”

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Why is the wage hike not part of the Covid bill?

The Democrats tagged the wage hike to the original text of the Covid relief bill, but it may be illegal according to the Senate parliamentarian. The parliamentarian or referee is an unelected member in charge of the rules of the Senate. Current parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that the wage hike cannot be passed using the budget reconciliation process, a fast-track process that allows the majority party to pass big-ticket legislation with a simple 51-vote majority.

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That means there's no way for Democrats to pass the bill without needing the standard 60 votes. Biden has publicly backed a plan to increase the minimum wage to $11, which some Republicans seem more on-board with. However, Sanders has put his foot down. “No one can tell me that you can live in dignity on $7.25 an hour. It cannot be done. It is time we finally do what is right, and raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour. No more starvation wages."

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Now, to ensure the wage hike passes the Senate, Sanders has devised a backdoor policy that would target tax deductions. The new plan would reduce tax deductions from corporations that don't pay the $15 an hour minimum wage while offering incentives for small businesses to do so. Hawley has also introduced legislation that would make it mandatory for all corporations making $1B or more to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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Workers from Newark Liberty International Airport and supporters attend a board meeting for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to ask for a raise on February 19, 2014, in New York City (Getty Images)

Twitter Gets Behind Bernie

Bernie's refusal to back down has found strong support on Twitter with #DontKillitBernie and #Fightfor15 trending. Many users are getting behind the plan to increase the minimum wage as debt and inflation have taken a massive toll. One user tweeted, "How much more are we supposed to take?! We are hungry, cold, sick, overworked, and underpaid. Please #DontKillItBernie for fucksake."

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Another called Bernie "the only politician I respect" saying, "@SenSanders You are the only politician I respect. The only one that gives me hope for my children's future. PLEASE #dontkillitbernie #FightFor15." Another angry user tweeted, "I'm frankly over "later" and "next time". Pass the damn bill. #dontkillitbernie." One user said the hike was "long past due", while another tweeted, "the American people deserve to make a living wage! We also deserve a party willing to keep some of their promises, especially this one!"

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