Democratic plans to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 hit a bump in the Senate early Friday—but party leaders said they could still pass the measure in future. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced an amendment to budget legislation to voice the Senate’s support for not increasing the wage during the pandemic. Senators voted to back Ernst’s amendment to “prohibit the increase of the federal minimum wage during a global pandemic,” but only after Democrats got Sen. Bernie Sanders’ blessing to do so. He argued that he wanted to increase the minimum wage over a five-year period, not during the pandemic, so he had no problem with Ernst’s amendment, which is nonbinding and does not become official federal policy. It is a reflection of where senators stand if they tackle the issue later. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference that Democrats will try again to raise the wage to $15 an hour, even if that comes outside of the stimulus package. “It’s not the last bill we’ll pass,” she said. “This is the rescue package.” Senators ultimately gave their support to to a bill that fast-tracks President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package early Friday after Vice President Kamala Harris cast her first tie-breaking vote.
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