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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the Raise The Wage Act in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol January 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. The proposed legislation, which will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the Raise The Wage Act in the Rayburn Room at the U.S. Capitol January 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. The proposed legislation, which will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

After House Passes $15 Minimum Wage Bill, Bernie Sanders Demands McConnell Let Senate Vote

"If Senator McConnell wants to vote against that bill and explain to the people of Kentucky why he believes a $7.25 minimum wage is acceptable to him that is his prerogative," said the 2020 presidential candidate

Jon Queally

After the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a "historic" piece of legislation Thursday that would raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 up to $15, Sen. Bernie Sanders immediately called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow that chamber to vote on the companion bill.

"No one who has a job in America should be living in poverty. Let the Senate vote." —Sen. Bernie SandersRecalling how his original bill proposing a $15 federal minimum wage, first introduced in 2015, was at the time dismissed as an "impossible dream," Sanders in a statement thanked "a strong grassroots movement led by millions of fast food workers and the SEIU" for securing passage of the Raise the Wage Act of 2019—introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan, the Democrat from Wisconsin who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

"Today," said Sanders, "I am proud to say that a $15 minimum wage has gone from laughable to inevitable."

With his own version of the bill languishing in the Senate, Sanders called on McConnell to "bring my $15 an hour legislation to the floor for a vote as soon as possible."

In the wake of Thursday's vote, Sanders retweeted a video he released last month calling on the GOP leader to do the same:

"If Senator McConnell wants to vote against that bill and explain to the people of Kentucky why he believes a $7.25 minimum wage is acceptable to him that is his prerogative," Sanders reiterated in his statement on Thursday. "But he should not deny the rest of the Senate the opportunity to vote for this bill and increase wages for 40 million Americans. No one who has a job in America should be living in poverty. Let the Senate vote."


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Common Dreams staff ·

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