by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Far-left activists are furious with the “corporate Democrats” that sided with Republicans against Sen. Bernard Sanders’ latest push to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Justice Democrats, the group that helped give rise to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said the vote in the Senate on Friday showed why “we need to not just elect more Democrats — we need to elect better Democrats.”
Mr. Sanders offered an amendment seeking to add the minimum wage hike to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that lawmakers are hammering out in the Senate.
Seven Democrats and one independent joined forces with Republicans in a procedural vote to block the push.
“It is unconscionable that eight Senate Democrats would tell millions of essential workers earning poverty wages that they are ‘heroes’ but don’t deserve a $15 minimum wage,” Justice Democrats said in a fundraising email.
Sens. Joseph Manchin III of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Jon Tester of Montana, Chris Coons and Tom Carper, both of Delaware, and Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, both of New Hampshire.
Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also opposed it.
“If the political establishment wants to keep protecting its corporate donors, we will keep ushering in a new generation of diverse, progressive Democrats like AOC, Jamaal Bowman, and Cori Bush,” the group said.
President Biden has said he supports the push for a $15 minimum wage, but activists are skeptical about how far he will go to get it done.
Some pointed out that Mr. Biden’s home state senators — Mr. Coons and Mr. Carper — helped block the Sanders’ push.
David Sirota, a former speechwriter for Mr. Sanders, said the vote on Saturday was “truly heinous.”