Andrew Yang on which would more broadly help the most Americans: universal basic income or higher wages

Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang rides the Staten Island Ferry on February 26 in New York City.

Most progressives – really, most Americans – agree that income inequality is a tremendous problem. For over 40 years, the vast majority of profits have gone to the wealthiest 10% of the economy, and a gigantic portion of those gains have been scooped up by the wealthiest .01 percent. The $50 trillion dollars that used to go to the American working class has now been leveraged to a fraction of the population, and that disparity is now obvious to everyone.

In this case, though, identifying the problem is the easy part. A lot of very smart people have many different ideas about how to alleviate income inequality, and many of these ideas aren’t compatible with one another. So decisions will have to be made about how to get that money back in the pockets of ordinary Americans.

For Nick Hanauer, the host of the “Pitchfork Economics” podcast, the first step to address income inequality was easy. In Washington state, Hanauer became one of the leading voices in the Fight for $15, which called for a $15 minimum wage. Now that it’s been endorsed by almost every single high-profile Democratic politician, $15 seems obvious, though Forbes in 2013 characterized it as a “near insane” proposition.

In the latest episode of “Pitchfork Economics,” Hanauer describes those early days of the Fight for $15 to former presidential candidate and current New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. And Yang is in agreement with Hanauer’s assessment that raising the minimum wage is good for the economy.

“Just about everything out of your mouth, I’ve always agreed with,” Yang told Hanauer. “But I think you would agree with me, particularly during this pandemic, that the extremity [of America’s income inequality] is accelerating and getting worse.”

Yang’s approach to fixing the economy

The entrepreneur and New York City mayoral candidate is perhaps the most high-profile proponent of the universal basic income (UBI), in which the government would send every American a check that they could then spend however they wish.

Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang.

“If I had a choice between something like universal basic income and a higher minimum wage, I would choose universal basic income,” Yang said. “But if I don’t get universal basic income, then I’m all for raising the minimum wage.”

“I’m on exactly the other side of that trade,” Hanauer said. “I really do believe in capitalism. I do believe that it is a great economic system – the best ever devised.” At the same time, Hanauer rejects the idea that “the whole system will come tumbling down if companies are required to pay their workers enough to live in dignity without food stamps.”

Yang told Hanauer that when he considered getting into public life, “I looked at the political possibility of changing the labor standards along the way you suggest.”

Universal basic income versus a higher minimum wage

Yang believes that the idea of a UBI is simpler and more suited to the modern world than reforming and updating the suite of labor standards instituted in the first half of the 20th century. He considers automation to be the leading problem for American workers in the 21st century, and believes that a significant portion of the American workforce will be made obsolete once technologies like self-driving cars and trucks finally mature.

If Yang’s dire prediction is correct, and millions of Americans are forced out of work and essentially considered useless to the labor force, a UBI might be better-suited to solve that crisis.

Nick Hanauer 100 list

Hanauer, however, believes that the coming wave of automation is not significantly different than the uncountable waves of automation that workers have lived through since the dawn of civilization. The invention of assembly lines, industrial farming equipment, and personal computing caused disruption in their fields that temporarily put people out of work, but all three technologies created jobs in the long run.

Hanauer believes that the real battle is to make sure that the newly created jobs pay enough that workers can afford to fully participate in the economy, because their consumer demand is what creates more jobs.

A meaningful path forward

The problem with internal debates among progressives is that there is no one right answer, and that these economic ideas are largely exclusive of each other – no politician that I know of is simultaneously calling for expanding the minimum wage and also establishing a regular series of UBI payments for all Americans.

The path forward can only be found through good-faith, informed debates like this, deliberating what action is possible, which outcomes are preferable, and who is persuadable. The debates of today are the crucibles that shape the policy of tomorrow.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The minimum wage would be $44 per hour if it had grown at the same rate as Wall Street bonuses

GettyImages 1207533986 Traders work during the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 17, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street stocks rallied Tuesday on expectations for massive federal stimulus to address the economic hit from the coronavirus, partially recovering some of their losses from the prior session. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Wall Street employees based in New York City earned an average bonus of $184,000 last year – a 10% increase from the year before.

The chaos that the pandemic unleashed on America’s economy turned out to be a major boon for Wall Street traders, according to new data from the New York State comptroller’s office.

Wall Street firms paid their New York City-based traders an average bonus of $184,000 last year, a 10% increase from 2019, New York comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a press release Friday.

But those paydays have been skyrocketing for decades. Since 1985, Wall Street traders’ bonuses have grown 1,217% – and that’s just a fraction of their overall pay, which was more than $406,000 in 2019, according to data from DiNapoli’s office.

By comparison, the federal minimum wage has flatlined at $7.25 per hour – or $15,080 annually – for 12 consecutive years. When adjusted for inflation, it has actually decreased by 11% since 1985.

If the minimum wage had instead grown at the same rate as Wall Street bonuses, it would be $44.12 per hour today.

Unlike a majority of the US, Wall Street saw massive financial success in 2020, and experts say it exposed just how detached the industry has become from the rest of the country’s reality.

“It’s just another reminder that there’s a total disconnect between what happens on Wall Street and what happens in people’s everyday lives and in the real economy,” Sarah Anderson, director of the global economy program at the Institute for Policy Studies, told Insider.

Read more: Reddit day traders wanted to beat Wall Street to prove the system is rigged. Instead, they did it by losing.

The stock market blew past pre-pandemic levels months ago as millions of Americans still struggled to find work, while increased volatility in the markets led to record years for Wall Street firms that netted bank executives paydays of up to $33 million, even as many banks laid off workers despite promises not to during the pandemic.

In a blog post for IPS on Monday, Anderson highlighted how deregulation of the financial industry has allowed firms to link traders’ pay packages to increasingly risky investing practices that are mostly only beneficial for Wall Street.

“So much of what is the most rewarded on Wall Street is the kind of trading activity that really doesn’t add a lot to the real economy and isn’t essential,” Anderson told Insider, adding that last year’s huge bonuses were “mostly because of market volatility, not necessarily because they’ve added a lot of value to the economy.”

After the 2008 financial crisis, lawmakers passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which banned pay packages with “inappropriate risks,” but Wall Street lobbyists have successfully blocked efforts to implement the rule for years.

IPS’ report also examined how Wall Street has made racial and gender pay disparities worse because they’ve disproportionately hired white male employees for decades while people of color and women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs.

“Nationally, securities industry employees are 80.5 percent white, 5.8 percent Black, 11.5 percent Asian, and 8.1 percent Latino. By contrast, whites make up an estimated 55.4 percent of people in jobs that pay less than $15 per hour,” Anderson wrote.

Wall Street’s risky, lucrative business models and pay practices are coming under increased scrutiny as the pandemic forces Americans to reckon with the country’s growing inequality.

“I just hope that it will lead to a real assessment of how skewed our values are when people doing these essential jobs are paid such a pittance compared to people on Wall Street,” Anderson told Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon is ripping into Bernie Sanders as pressure builds in the final days of a union vote led by workers in Alabama

Bernie Sanders minimum wage
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during an event to introduce the Raise The Wage Act in the Rayburn Room at the US Capitol on January 16, 2019 in Washington, DC.

  • Amazon consumer chief Dave Clark attacked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday morning.
  • Clark said Sanders “should save his finger wagging lecture” until he raises the minimum wage in Vermont.
  • Sanders is traveling to Alabama to speak with Amazon workers voting on the company’s first union.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Amazon is going all-in on attacking Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The company’s consumer chief Dave Clark went after Sanders for the second day in a row. In a tweet, Clark called out Vermont’s $11.75 minimum wage and said “The Sen should save his finger wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard.”

Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 in 2018 after critics, including Sanders, repeatedly highlighted the issue.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” CEO Jeff Bezos said. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.” The company has since used the move as a means of hurting its competitors.

Sanders announced on Wednesday that he’ll be traveling to Alabama to meet with employees at Amazon’s Bessemer fulfillment center, where workers are in the final days of a unionization bid. The vote, which could form the first union in Amazon’s history, closes on Monday.

“I look forward to meeting with Amazon workers in Alabama on Friday,” Sanders said on Wednesday. “All I want to know is why the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is spending millions trying to prevent workers from organizing a union so they can negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions.”

Following Sanders’ announcement, Clark hit back at the senator, saying that Amazon calls itself “the Bernie Sanders of employers,” but that the comparison isn’t perfect, “because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.”

Notably, Amazon does not support unionization, and has actively pushed employees to vote against it. The company even launched an internal campaign, “Do It Without Dues,” to dissuade employees from unionization.

Amazon employees have criticized the company’s working conditions for years.

Amazon delivery drivers speaking with Insider in 2018 described a variety of time-saving measures they used to meet company demands: urinating in bottles, speeding, and sprinting to meet deadlines. In the UK, fulfillment center workers also “peed in bottles” so they didn’t have to leave their station to walk to a restroom, eating up work time.

Amazon has repeatedly refuted these reports. “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?” a message from Amazon’s official news account said on Wednesday. “If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Democrats failed to get anywhere near a united front on a $15 minimum wage, suggesting the measure is doomed for now

Chuck Schumer Bernie Sanders
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a Capitol Hill press conference in 2018.

  • Senate Democrats were unable to agree on a proposed minimum wage increase, reports said.
  • Many – including the White House – support a $15 an hour federal minimum.
  • But several Senate Democrats oppose it, presenting a seemingly impassable obstacle.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Democrats were unable to reach an agreement on how best to overcome their differences and push forward with proposals to raise the federal minimum wage, according to reports Tuesday.

A meeting was convened by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday, reported Politico and the Punch Bowl politics newsletter.

It was said to include 8 moderate Democratic senators who opposed a push led by Sen. Bernie Sanders to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It is currently $7.25 an hour.

Sanders was also there, along with others from the progressive wing of the party’s Senate caucus, according to the report.

Democrats suffered a defeat on the $15 wage earlier in March, when a Senate official ruled that it could not be part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

The Senate Parliamentarian – a nonpartisan official – said that a minimum wage hike was beyond the scope of the stimulus package, which was being considered under a special mechanism called budget reconciliation, which allows bills to pass with fewer votes.

8 moderate Democrats subsequently voted against an attempt to have the minimum wage increase included again.

They argued that the bill would mean extra costs for businesses they can ill afford when they are struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The meeting was an attempt to bridge the divide on the issue between Democrats, but Punch Bowl News, a Washington DC newsletter, reported that no breakthroughs were made Tuesday.

According to the outlet, Sanders and Sen. Joe Manchin, an influential moderate from West Virginia, battled over the size of a proposed increase, with Sanders arguing for it to be increased to $15 and Manchin favoring $11.

Another sticking point is what level the minimum wage should be for workers who get tips, like bar workers or servers in restaurants, according to Politico.

The impasse places the future of the minimum wage increase in question. The reports suggest the party has a long way to go before achieving consensus within its own ranks let alone mustering the 60 votes required to overcome a likely Republican filibuster.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Minimum-wage talks restart as progressive and moderate Democrats reportedly huddle with Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer Bernie Sanders
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a Capitol Hill press conference in 2018.

  • Democratic Senators are meeting on Tuesday to discuss a minimum wage increase, HuffPo reports.
  • The meeting will include all 7 moderate Democrats who voted against the increase in the stimulus.
  • Bernie Sanders of Vermont has been adamant that the minimum wage can be no less than $15 an hour.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Although a federal minimum wage increase to $15 an hour didn’t make it into the stimulus bill, Senate Democrats are meeting today to find a way to get it done somehow, a Democratic source told HuffPost.

According to the source, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will meet with the progressive senators who led the push for the $15 minimum wage increase, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Patty Murray of Washington, and Ron Wyden of Oregon. But the meeting will also include all seven moderate Democrats who voted against the $15 minimum wage hike: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Chris Coons of Delaware, Tom Carper of Delaware, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and Jon Tester of Montana.

When the Senate parliamentarian voted against including a minimum wage increase in the stimulus bill, Sanders – who co-sponsored a bill to raise the wage to $15 an hour by 2025 – promised he wouldn’t give up on efforts to get the job done.

“But let me be very clear: If we fail in this legislation, I will be back,” Sanders told reporters on March 1. “We’re going to keep going and, if it takes 10 votes, we’re going to raise that minimum wage very shortly.”

And in a call with reporters on Friday, progressive lawmakers, including Rep. Ro Khanna of California, joined labor leaders and activists to strategize how they could pass a minimum wage increase through Congress, whether by reconciliation or attaching it to a must-pass bill.

“There needs to be a clear plan, a clear strategy,” Khanna told The Washington Post in an interview. “It’s not enough to just say, well, we’re committed to this, we want to get it done.”

Manchin has previously said that a $15 minimum wage increase is too high and advocated for an $11 per hour increase instead. However, Sanders has remained adamant on achieving a $15 per hour increase to lift Americans out of poverty.

“In my mind, the great economic crisis that we face today is half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck,” Sanders said on Twitter on March 5. “And many millions of workers are, frankly, working for starvation wages. Raising the minimum wage is what the American people want, and it’s what we have got to do.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk responds to Bernie Sanders’ criticism of his vast wealth, saying he is ‘accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary’

Elon Musk
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was “accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary.”
  • Musk was responding to criticism raised by Senator Bernie Sanders.
  • “That level of greed and inequality is not only immoral. It is unsustainable,” Sanders said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has responded to criticism of his huge wealth by Senator Bernie Sanders, saying he would use his money to help humankind.

“I am accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary & extend the light of consciousness to the stars,” Musk said on Twitter.

Musk has become one of the world’s wealthiest people, alongside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Liberal lawmakers have called for higher taxes on billionaires, saying they’re not paying their fair share.

“We are in a moment in American history where two guys – Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – own more wealth than the bottom 40% of people in this country,” Senator Bernie Sanders said on Twitter on Thursday.

The Vermont senator added: “That level of greed and inequality is not only immoral. It is unsustainable.”

An article published by the website Clean Technica called the senator’s comments “truly ridiculous.” Musk responded to the article, saying he planned to make life “multiplanetary.”

Musk, who also runs SpaceX, said last year that he planned to send a million people to Mars by 2050, creating “a lot of jobs” on the Red Planet. He said he was “highly confident” the first SpaceX Starship may land on Mars in 2026, although some experts raised doubts about his timeline.

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders.

Both Musk and Bezos have spent time as the world’s wealthiest person. When Musk’s net worth climbed to $188 billion in January, he edged in front of Bezos, who had been wealthiest since 2017.

“How strange,” Musk said at the time.

Last week, Sanders raised questions about Bezos’s wealth in a tweet, then mentioned the wealth of both Musk and Bezos in a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday morning.

“Bezos and Musk now own more wealth than the bottom 40%. Meanwhile, we’re looking at more hunger in America than at any time in decades,” Sanders said in his opening remarks.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber will pay its 70,000 UK-based drivers minimum wage and benefits following a major Supreme Court defeat

uber driver prop 22
Rideshare driver Teresa Mercado raises her fist in support as app based gig workers held a driving demonstration with 60-70 vehicles blocking Spring Street in front of Los Angeles City Hall urging voters to vote no on Proposition 22 on Oct. 8, 2020.

  • Uber is reclassifying its UK-based drivers as “workers,” it said in a regulatory filing Tuesday.
  • The move requires Uber to follow minimum wage, paid vacation, and other labor laws.
  • Uber strongly opposes efforts to reclassify its drivers, but pivoted in the UK after a legal defeat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Uber announced Tuesday it will reclassify drivers in the United Kingdom as “workers,” guaranteeing them minimum wage, paid vacation, pensions, and additional protection under the country’s labor laws.

In a statement, Uber told Insider the move will impact more than 70,000 drivers, and follows a recent unanimous Supreme Court decision that determined drivers should be classified as workers.

Uber initially downplayed the ruling, saying it “focussed on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016,” though shares of Uber dropped as much as 2% following the ruling.

With Tuesday’s announcement, Uber has opted to reclassify all UK drivers rather than fight legal battles with individual drivers about whether the court’s ruling would apply to them.

“Uber is just one part of a larger private-hire industry, so we hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives,” Jamie Heywood, the regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, told Insider in a statement.

The move is a major shift for Uber, which has aggressively fought rulings by courts and regulators in the US that have determined drivers to be employees as opposed to contractors. In California, Uber spent at least $30 million persuading voters to pass Proposition 22, a law it co-authored that carved out an exemption from state labor laws to allow rideshare and food delivery drivers to be treated as contractors.

Unlike American law, which defines workers as employees or contractors, UK law has an additional “worker” category, which entitles workers to receive the minimum wage, paid vacation, rest breaks, and protections against illegal discrimination, retaliation for whistleblowing, and wage theft. That classification falls short of guaranteeing benefits like parental leave and severance to which full employees are entitled.

Uber said the UK minimum wage, which is slightly above $12, will serve as an “earnings floor, not an earnings ceiling” after accounting for roughly 62 cents in per-mile expenses, but that drivers won’t be paid for the time they spend waiting for a ride – which some researchers have found accounts for as much as 33% of drivers’ work.

Uber also said it will pay drivers around 12% of their earnings as vacation pay every two weeks and enroll them in a pension plan to which Uber will also contribute.

Labor advocates voiced their support for the move and the court ruling that proceeded it.

“Dear America … see what happens when a government lays it down? Is Uber leaving? No, they’re actually doing right by their workforce in the UK. Our drivers deserve this too. Why would an American company short change American workers? Because we let them!” tweeted California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of AB-5, the state labor law that Uber sought an exemption from by pushing Prop 22.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Senators who voted against a $15 minimum wage represent three-quarters of the workers who would benefit, study says

fight for 15 minimum wage protest
Demonstrators participate in a protest outside of McDonald’s corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.

  • A new report from the Economic Policy Institute looks at who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage.
  • It found that 24 million of the workers who would are in states where senators voted against it.
  • The wage hike wasn’t included in the stimulus package after 7 Democrats voted against it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Of the 32 million workers who would receive a raise under a $15 minimum wage, 24 million are in states where senators voted against it, according to a new report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

That works out to 75% of all the workers who would benefit from a higher federal minimum. The 32 million workers who would be impacted represent 21% of the overall workforce, according to the report.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ push to include a provision for raising the wage to $15 by 2025 was voted down on Friday. Seven Democrats – including the moderates Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – joined Republicans in voting down the measure. Also voting against was independent Angus King of Maine, who caucuses with the Democrats.

The EPI report found that increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would also benefit America’s essential and frontline workers. It would be a wage hike for 19 million of them, around 60% of all workers impacted.

As Insider’s Grace Dean previously reported, almost a third of Black workers would get a raise under the policy; EPI also found that 26% of Hispanic workers would benefit from the bump.

A $15 minimum wage has broad support. In an Insider poll, over 60% of respondents said they would definitely or probably support a $15 minimum wage. Respondents were more split on when an increase should come into effect: 39% said that, were the increase to go into effect, a “$15 minimum wage should be implemented immediately.” Conversely, 50% would “prefer a phased rollout, gradually raising the minimum wage annually to $15 in 2025.”

Sanders’ Raise the Wage Act would have raised the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. Even that schedule wasn’t quick enough for some minimum wage workers.

Cynthia Murray, a Walmart associate and member of United for Respect, testified at a Senate budget committee hearing on the proposed increase.

“We’ve been talking about this issue for years, and not just a couple of years,” Murray told Insider after her testimony. “That’s why I’m saying: When is the time gonna come? 2025 is too late for me, as I see it, for all workers across the country. “

Overall, the EPI report finds that the $15 increase by 2025 would have resulted in an annual pay increase of $3,300 for those working year-round.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Criticism over Sen. Krysten Sinema’s thumbs-down vote against raising the minimum wage is sexist, her office suggested

Krysten Sinema
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wears a protective mask while arriving to the U.S. Capitol on December 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • Sen. Krysten Sinema was widely criticized for her vote against raising the minimum wage.
  • She cast her vote by giving a thumbs down on the Senate floor, further inciting backlash.  
  • A spokesperson suggested to HuffPost that such criticism was sexist. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sen. Krysten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, incited backlash Friday when she voted against a portion of the COVID-19 relief package that would’ve raised the federal minimum wage to $15.

While much of the backlash from progressives centered around her decision to oppose the minimum wage hike, she was also widely criticized for the way in which she cast her vote by making an exaggerated, dramatic thumbs-down gesture. 

But later Friday, Sinema’s office implied in a statement that such criticism was sexist, according to HuffPost.

“Commentary about a female senator’s body language, clothing, or physical demeanor does not belong in a serious media outlet,” a spokesperson for Sinema told the outlet.

The statement further incited social media backlash against the Arizona senator. 

“I am a feminist. I am a woman of color. And I am SO NOT going to let her use sexism as a shield for her offensive glee with which she chose to hurt working people,” one person said in a tweet.

 

The move drew some parallels to the late Republican Sen. John McCain, also from Arizona, who in 2017 flashed a thumbs down in a decisive vote that upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act. 

Sinema was part of eight Democrats, which included Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware, Angus King of Maine, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Tom Carper of Delaware, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Jon Tester of Montana, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, to reject the proposal made by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. 

 

Sanders’ proposal had gone against a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian, who said that a minimum wage increase could not be included in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. A minimum wage increase was a key part of Biden’s campaign for the White House.

In a statement posted to Twitter Friday, Sinema said she supported raising the minimum wage in the future. 

“I understand what it is like to face tough choices while working to meet your family’s most basic needs,” she said. 

She continued: “Senators in both parties have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage and the Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process on raising the minimum wage, separate from the COVID-focused reconciliation bill.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider

A proposal to raise the minimum wage was killed in the Senate after 8 Democrats voted against the bill

joe manchin 20
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 14: Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, speaks during a news conference with a bipartisan group of lawmakers as they announce a proposal for a Covid-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill, on Monday, December 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. Lawmakers from both chambers released a $908 billion package Monday, split into two bills.

  • Eight Senate Democrats broke from the majority and voted against the minimum wage hike proposal.
  • A number of the dissenters cited a need to protect struggling businesses from increased labor costs.
  • The hike was nixed from the current stimulus package following a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Eight Senate Democrats broke from the majority and voted on Friday against the $15 minimum wage hike proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The vote scrapped Sanders’ push for the provision to be added back into the stimulus package being negotiated in Congress, after Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that it should be nixed.

MacDonough ruled that the minimum wage increase violates the “Byrd Rule,” which prohibits “extraneous” policies as part of a reconciliation bill or resolution.

“It is hard for me to understand how drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was compliant with the Byrd rule, but raising the minimum wage is not,” Sanders said.

President Joe Biden has also expressed support for gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The bill was abandoned in the Senate after eight Democrats voted against the proposal:

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia

Joe Manchin
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 05: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to the press near the Senate subway following a vote in the Senate impeachment trial that acquitted President Donald Trump of all charges on February 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. After the House impeached Trump last year, the Senate voted today to acquit the President on two articles of impeachment as the trial concludes.

Manchin, a moderate Democrat who holds Byrd’s former Senate seat, had previously expressed disapproval of the minimum wage hike, standing with the Senate parliamentarian MacDonough.

“My only vote is to protect the Byrd Rule: Hell or high water,” the senator told CNN in February. “Everybody knows that. I’m fighting to defend the Byrd Rule. The President knows that.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona

Democratic senators-elect Kyrsten Sinema (L) (D-AZ) and Jacky Rosen (R) (D-NV) walk to the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for a meeting at the U.S. Capitol November 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Democratic senators-elect Kyrsten Sinema (L) (D-AZ) and Jacky Rosen (R) (D-NV) walk to the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for a meeting at the U.S. Capitol November 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Sinema, another key moderate who had previously thrown cold water on the minimum wage hike, also voted against the proposal on Friday. To represent her “nay” vote, the Arizona senator dramatically voted with a “thumbs-down” to the Senate clerk, sparking backlash from progressive senators.

Despite her “thumbs-down” vote, Sinema said in a statement that she would be open to renegotiating a minimum wage increase “separate” from the relief package.

“Senators in both parties have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage, and 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.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana

jon tester montana
Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT, delivers opening remarks during a confirmation hearing of Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs nominee of U.S. President Joe Biden, before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 27, 2021.

Tester voted against the proposal on Friday. Manchin said he and Tester hoped the spending in the stimulus package as a whole would be better “targeted” and “helping the people that need help the most.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire

Jeanne Shaheen
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., raises her arms after claiming victory at a gathering with supporters, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. Shaheen faced Republican businessman Corky Messner. (

Shaheen’s office told Boston.com, the news site for the Boston Globe, in a statement that the senator from New Hampshire supports the minimum wage hike, but only with “safeguards” to protect small businesses and restaurants that have borne the economic brunt of the coronavirus pandemic to ensure they “don’t go under.”

“I also think we should work with some of those folks who are affected to help figure out how we can get them through an increase in the minimum wage,” Shaheen told WMUR9. “We have nursing homes in New Hampshire who are having difficulties employing people because of the wage scale.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire

maggie hassan
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., speaks during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on “Threats to the Homeland”, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 24, 2020.

Another senator from New Hampshire, Hassan, rejected the minimum wage hike proposal. Like Shaheen, Hassan said she supports a separate bill to push the increase through Congress rather than bulking it with the stimulus package.

“Well so there’s isn’t going to be an increase in the minimum wage in this package,” Hassan said in an interview with WMUR9. “That being said, I think it’s really important that we all recognize that people who work 40 hours a week should be able to get by. They shouldn’t be living at or below the poverty level when they’re working hard.”

Sen. Angus King of Maine

angus king
U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) is seen in the Senate Reception room during the fifth day of the impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2021.

King, an independent from Maine who typically caucuses with Democrats, also voted against Sanders’ proposal. He told The Wall Street Journal last week that, while he supports increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, he expressed concern that increase labor costs could prompt businesses to make lay off employees.

During the pandemic, “a lot of restaurants are just hanging on by the thread,” he said.

Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware

Tom Carper
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 17: U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) speaks during a hearing of the Finance Committee at which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier, Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee that the U.S.-China trade deal shows no signs of weakening despite recent conflicts including issues involving the pandemic and China’s crackdown on Hong Kong.

Two senators from Delaware, Sens. Carper and Coons, were surprising dissenters to the minimum wage hike, especially hailing from Biden’s home state where local Democrats have thrown their support behind such a policy.

Carper threw cold water on the proposal on Friday, citing a need to protect struggling businesses from the increased labor costs.

“I have backed a $15 minimum wage on the federal level for years,” Carper said in a statement to Delaware Online. “At a time when our economy is still slowly recovering, though, policymakers have a responsibility to be especially mindful of the fragile state of small businesses all across this country – many of which are fighting just to stay open during this unprecedented crisis.”

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware

Chris Coons
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 30: Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) asks a question to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Senate Foreign Relations to discuss the Trump administration’s FY 2021 budget request for the State Department on July 30, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Like the other senators who dissented, Coons said he was concerned about how the minimum wage increase would impact small businesses.

“Every Democrat and many Republicans agree that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is too low and has been for too long,” Coons said in a statement to Delaware Online. “It has to be raised. President Biden has called for us to raise it to $15 an hour. I will work with my colleagues on legislation to raise the minimum wage and index it annually.”

Read the original article on Business Insider