Sen. Jim Risch, a Republican from Idaho, is offering a budget amendment opposing a $15 federal minimum wage. It’s designed to highlight divisions in the Democratic party over the issue since moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin have already voiced opposition to the $15 increase.
The move comes as President Biden is pushing to include a $15 an hour hike – a long sought agenda item for Democrats – in the Covid-19 relief package, but is already facing resistance from some in the party on the dollar amount
Earlier this week, Manchin told reporters “no” he doesn’t support a $15 increase, and argued it’s more reasonable for his home state of West Virginia to instead raise it to something in the ballpark of $11 an hour.
Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana and another moderate, similarly told reporters while he supports an increase, he’d prefer a lower number that would also make more sense based on the cost of living in his state.
Every single Democratic senator’s vote will be needed in order to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package, if Democrats choose to go through the budget reconciliation process to bypass GOP support.