Hawley, Sanders push plans to rescue $15 minimum wage

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Friday were attempting to revive an effort to increase the minimum wage.

One day earlier, the Senate parliamentarian’s office shot down the $15 minimum wage proposal as a part of the larger $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that is headed to a House vote Friday night.

Democrats and one Republican are making a last ditch effort to try and get some pay raise passed now rather than later, but it’s unclear if in the proposal stands a real chance.

“I think there’s no reason larger businesses shouldn’t be able to pay their workers 15 dollars,” said Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley.

Hawley introduced a new bill that would require only billion-dollar businesses to adopt the increase.

He says his bill could reel in Republicans who insist an increased minimum wage would kill small main street businesses. 

“I think you can find some common ground there,” Hawley said.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a plan to penalize big businesses that don’t increase the minimum wage their own.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office told Nexstar that Sanders’ provision could make it inside the larger COVID relief package.

“The most important thing is making sure working families get money,” said Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), adding that he is open to both ideas. “Too many hard-working families in this country are getting exploited.”

But Friday, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy opposed Democrats’ last minute push.

“I think it’s stupid,” said McCarthy (R-Calif.).

McCarthy called the penalty a tax increase that does not address the pandemic.

“Does that put anyone back to work, the kids back in school?” McCarthy asked.

The House could vote on the COVID relief bill before the weekend. If it passes the House, it then heads to the Senate for a vote as early as next week.

In a question and answer session on Air Force One White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president is reviewing the proposal, adding that it will require a number of conversation with leaders in Congress.

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