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Sanders delivers fiery speech urging Senate to raise minimum wage

In a fiery speech during debate over the American Rescue Plan, Senator Bernie Sanders implored Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, calling it “disgraceful” that lawmakers have allowed tens of millions of American workers to live on “starvation wages”.

“Nobody in America can survive on $7.25 an hour, $9 an hour or $12 an hour,” he said. “We need an economy in which all of our workers earn at least a living wage.”

He added: “Now is the time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage – at least $15 an hour. A job in the United States of America should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it.”

The Recount
(@therecount)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gives forceful speech on his proposed amendment to raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour:

“This is a bill which will answer a profound question: Are we living in a democratic society … ?” pic.twitter.com/qrz4LjQFWq


March 5, 2021

Last week, the Senate parliamentarian determined that a provision raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was inadmissible under the rules of a special budgetary procedure Democrats are using to pass the $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill on a party-line vote.

Sanders, backed by many progressives in the House, has called on Democrats to “ignore” the decision by the parliamentarian, citing the urgent need to help low-wage workers who have been disproportionately affected by the economic havoc wrought by the pandemic.

Later this morning, Sanders was poised to introduce an amendment that would write a minimum wage hike in the stimulus bill. Though the measure, which would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour over a five-year period, is unlikely to pass, it may reveal how much support the effort has.

A provision raising the minimum wage was included in a version of the stimulus bill advanced by the House last week, despite the parliamentarian’s ruling.

Sanders also made a forceful case for enacting the Covid bill, which is expected to pass with only Democratic support.

“This is a bill which will answer a profound question: are we living in a democratic society where the US Congress will respond to the needs of working families rather than just the wealthy and large corporations and their lobbyists?” he said. “That’s what today is about.”

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