Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema votes against $15 minimum wage with a dramatic thumbs down
- A video of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema dramatically indicating her "no" vote on a measure to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 incensed progressives on Friday.
- Sinema appeared to curtsy as she gave her thumbs-down to the Senate clerk, prompting some progressives to condemn her for appearing enthusiastic.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, dramatically indicated her "no" vote with a thumbs-down to the Senate clerk on a measure to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour on Friday.
Some progressives attacked the moderate Democrat for appearing enthusiastic about denying tens of millions of Americans. Sinema's somewhat theatrical move called to mind Arizona Sen. John McCain's famous thumbs-down vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
An adviser to Democrat Julian Castro tweeted alongside a video of Sinema's vote, "Did Sinema really have vote against a $15 minimum wage for 24 million people like this?" Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin progressive, tweeted out a statement Sinema made in 2014 supporting a minimum wage increase to $10.74.
"A full-time minimum-wage earner makes less than $16k a year," Sinema wrote. "This one's a no-brainer. Tell Congress to #RaiseTheWage!"
Pocan commented, "Just wow." Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat, retweeted the message.
Sinema was one of seven Democratic senators and one independent who voted against hiking the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package. All 50 Republicans oppose the measure and it appeared to be set to fail on Friday.
But Sinema and other Democratic senators who voted down the measure have suggested they'd be open to passing a higher minimum wage after the relief bill is passed.
"Senators in both parties have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage, and the Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process on raising the minimum wage, separate from the Covid-focused reconciliation bill," Sinema said in a statement.
More than 800,000 people in Sinema's home state earn less than $15 per hour and will be impacted by Sinema's vote, a recent study found.
—Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) March 5, 2021
—RootsAction (@Roots_Action) March 5, 2021
—Mark Pocan (@MarkPocan) March 5, 2021
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