Politics After Fruitless Joe Manchin Meeting, $15 Minimum Wage Activists Target Kyrsten Sinema
The strategists behind 'the Squad' launch PAC to push progressive agenda in Congress
On Feb. 2, a group called No Excuses PAC announced plans to challenge Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, two of the more moderate members of the Democratic caucus. The effort is, in part, designed to push Senate Democrats to override Republicans and pursue larger economic relief packages amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Our goal is to blanket the state geographically, hitting hundreds of thousands of folks every week,” said Corbin Trent, one of three co-founders of the political action committee.No Excuses PAC is also trying to recruit candidates to run against Manchin and Sinema, who are both up for reelection in 2024.
Activists backing a hike in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour have revealed that they plan to be "on the ground" in Arizona next week to protest against Senator Kyrsten Sinema's opposition to the measure in President's COVID relief package.
After a(D-WV) on Thursday, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, told reporters that activists would protest against the senator in West Virginia, and also demonstrate against Sen. Sinema (D-AZ) in her home state.
Generation Z workers push for $15 minimum wage as Congress, Biden debate pay for all Americans
Young workers are advocating for federal lawmakers to increase the minimum wage to $15 amid a national debate over how much Americans should earn.Cardona said he mostly works with elderly people, single mothers and young people trying to get by.
Speaking alongside low wage West Virginians who also met with Manchin, Barber said the pair were "betraying" the promises made by theahead of the presidential election, and the subsequent Georgia runoff elections.
"We'll be on the ground in West Virginia next week, and in Arizona because we've got a Democratic senator out there that's betraying what the promises were," he said. The activist later confirmed that people would be "at the offices" of the senators for socially distanced protests.
The Poor People's Campaignto demonstrate outside Sen. Manchin's office in Charleston, West Virginia on Monday, but their plans were canceled due to an ice storm.
Joe Manchin Wants Meeting About $15 Minimum Wage, Campaigners Say
The Poor People's Campaign said in a statement that a meeting with the West Virginia senator who opposes the minimum wage hike could take place as early as this week.The Poor People's Campaign said in a statement on Monday that Manchin asked for a meeting with the group, which had planned to hold an in-person protest outside his office in Charleston, West Virginia on the same day.
Asked whether he felt there was any openness to compromise at the meeting with Manchin, Barber said his campaign was "not interested in compromise," and argued that the proposed hike to $15 an hour was already a compromise.
"What [Manchin] was suggesting would just further keep people in poverty and hurting," Barber said of the meeting. "Even when we hear people saying we want to pass this, but we want to implement it a little bit at a time, people are hurting now. People are going to work now. People are not able to afford healthcare now."
He later added: "The people we are talking about are saving this economy now, and they can't even be saved." Newsweek has contacted the Poor People's Campaign and Senator Sinema's office for further comment.
Speaking to Politico earlier this month, Sinema took issue with the $15 minimum wage proposal being included in the COVID relief bill being pushed through the budget reconciliation process. "The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process," Sinema told the outlet. "It is not a budget item. And it shouldn't be in there."
$15 minimum wage debate: Everything you need to know
House Democrats have included a minimum wage hike in their latest Covid relief bill, although opposition among some Senate Democrats means it is not at all clear they will have the votes to pass it. © Scott Olson/Getty Images Demonstrators participate in a protest outside of McDonald's corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Improving worker pay is unrelated in that raising the minimum wage has long been a Democratic priority.
Manchin has taken a similar position. He toldthat he would be voting to defend the —a precedent that requires proposals in any budget reconciliation bill to have a direct impact on the budget.
""My only vote is to protect the Byrd Rule: hell or high water," Sen. Manchin told CNN. "Everybody knows that. I'm fighting to defend the Byrd Rule. The president knows that."
Prospects for a $15 federal minimum wage look bleak .
But some US senators, including Bernie Sanders and Josh Hawley, are proposing alternatives to raising the wage.Democrats were pushing to include an increase in the federal minimum wage as part of a proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package, but its fate has likely been determined: On Feb. 25, the US Senate’s parliamentarian said that hiking the minimum wage to $15, as the Democrats sought to do, could not be included in the bill, arguing it falls outside the scope of what the Democrats can do in the budget reconciliation process.