WASHINGTON – Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, sided with Republicans and seven other senators from her party in an amendment to raise President Joe Biden’s minimum wage for coronavirus relief bill by $ 1.9 trillion Vote dollars. It was the way she did it that sparked condemnation and some comparisons with the late John McCain on social media.
Sinema was standing on the floor of the house and pointing a thumb down when her name was put to the vote. While show of hands is not an uncommon way of voting for senators, some have found it persistent given the nature of the voting.
Hand gestures were used more frequently during the COVID-19 pandemic as lawmakers wear masks when they vote. Senator Mark Kelly, Arizona’s other Democratic Senator, gave a thumbs up on Friday for support for the change.
Sinema’s actions commemorated many similar moves by the late Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., Whose thumbs down became an iconic moment on a Republican move to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
Sinema’s name was on Twitter alongside McCain’s on Friday. Some have drawn comparisons between legislators for voting against their own parties. Others said Sinema’s voice would harm workers in a challenging economy, unlike McCain’s voice in maintaining health care for many.
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Sinema said in a statement explaining her voice that she believed the minimum wage increase should be treated as an issue separate from the COVID-19 relief law.
“Nobody who works full-time should live in poverty,” Sinema said. “Senators from both parties have shown their support for the federal minimum wage increase, and the Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process to increase the minimum wage, separate from the COVID-focused Law of Reconciliation.”
The amendment was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And supported by other progressive senators. He pushed the amendment after the Senate MP decided that the measure could not be included. The MP said the provision that would raise wages from $ 7.25 to $ 15 by 2025 should be removed and viewed as a standalone bill or part of other legislation.
The other Democrats who voted against the amendment were Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del .; Tom Carper, D-Del .; Jon Tester, D-Mon .; Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H .; Maggie Hassan, DN.H .; and Joe Manchin, WV Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent negotiating with Democrats, also voted against the minimum wage change.
Critics said Sinema’s thumbs down showed insensitivity. Some, including some progressive lawmakers, were puzzled by her vote as she had previously advocated wage increases.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Said Sinema’s perceived change from a 2014 tweet supporting higher wages to “happily voting no is really disturbing”.
Imagine if you had the nerve Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., wrote on Twitter: “Go home and ask the minimum wage workers to assist you after taking your own documented stance, to reduce their greatest chance of getting a wage. ” Hike during their longest drought of wage increases since the law began. “
“Did Sinema really vote against a $ 15 minimum wage for 24 million people like this?” asked Sawyer Hackett, a senior adviser to former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julián Castro.
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The Senate stood for about nine hours on Friday while the Senators negotiated proposed changes to the stimulus package unemployment benefit, while a number of amendments known as “Vote-a-Rama” were voted on. The chamber stands ready to move forward after Manchin announced its support for a compromise.
Featuring: Ledyard King, Nicholas Wu, and Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY; Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Republic of Arizona