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Sen. Sinema breaks with Democrats on $15 minimum wage

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Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) has broken with fellow Democrats on a federal $15 minimum wage that is included in President Joe Biden‘s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

“What’s important is whether or not it’s directly related to short-term Covid relief. And if it’s not, then I am not going to support it in this legislation,” Sinema told Politico in an interview this week.

With the U.S. Senate currently split 50-50, Democrats need all the votes they can get in order to pass the package through budget reconciliation, which Sinema, a moderate who was elected in 2018 and became the first Democrat to become a senator for Arizona since 1988, opposes doing for the minimum wage provision.

“The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process. It is not a budget item. And it shouldn’t be in there,” she also told Politico.

Her opposition to the provision, which Democrats and Biden campaigned for in 2020, could end up dooming the massive package.

Budget reconciliation is a tool that allows legislation to pass with a majority, circumventing the 60-vote filibuster threshold, which Democrats are using to force the bill through the Senate and to the Resolute desk. It should be noted, however, that this tool only pertains to bills dealing with budgetary matters.

However, amid recent calls from many Democrats to get rid of the age-old filibuster rule, Sinema told Politico that she wants to not only keep it, but to also rebuild it.

“There is no instance in which I would overrule a parliamentarian’s decision,” Sinema said. “I want to restore the 60-vote threshold for all elements of the Senate’s work.”

Sinema is joined by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D), who also opposes scrapping the filibuster.

“If I haven’t said it very plain, maybe Sen. McConnell hasn’t understood, I want to basically say it for you. That I will not vote in this Congress, that’s two years, right? I will not vote” to change the filibuster, Manchin told Politico in a late-January interview. “And I hope with that guarantee in place he will work in a much more amicable way.”

Despite Biden having called for a $15 minimum wage multiple times, he told CBS on Sunday that the provision would likely not show up in the final coronavirus package due to it not being a budgetary item and not being related to giving Americans pandemic relief.

“I do think that we should have a minimum wage, stand by itself [at] $15 an hour,” Biden said to CBS’ Norah O’Donnell. “Well, apparently, that’s not going to occur because of the rules of the United States Senate. […] I don’t think it’s going to survive.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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No help at our border, but Biden announces $5 billion going to bike paths, wider sidewalks

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In the world of Democrat delusion, they think $5 billion is necessary, at this point in time, to make bike paths and widen side walks. You cannot make this up. They have approved $40 billion in aide to Ukraine in a heartbeat under President Biden, while having rejected former President Trump’s request for a mere $5 billion to secure our border.

The news also comes as fentanyl and the drug overdoses are the number one cause of death in the U.S. There’s also an increase in human smuggling and extortion to pay to cross the border. But no; let’s make some bike paths and widen sidewalks. That is an immediate emergency.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Monday that money will be used over five years under his department’s new “Safe Streets & Roads for All” program. The $5 billion ini federals funds will be used “to slow down cars chia more speed cameras, carve out bike paths and wider sidewalks and urging commuters to public transit” reports Daily Mail.

“The aim will be to provide a direct infusion of federal cash to communities that pledge to promote safety for the multiple users of a roadway, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists.” The announcement also coincides with the six-month anniversary of President Biden’s infrastructure legislation, and the beginning of the 2022 “infrastructure week.”

The desire to fix roads is a noble one, as “road traffic injuries also are the leading cause of death among young people aged 5-29. Young adults aged 15-4 account for more than half of all road deaths” reports Daily Mail, which adds:

Still, much of the federal roadmap relies on cooperation from cities and states, and it could take months if not years to fully implement with discernible results – too late to soothe 2022 midterm voters unsettled by this and other pandemic-related ills, such as rising crime.

The latest U.S. guidance Monday invites cities and localities to sketch out safety plans in their applications for the federal grants, which are to be awarded late this year.

It cites examples of good projects as those that promise to transform a high-crash roadway, such as by adding rumble strips to slow cars or installing speed cameras, which the department says could provide more equitable enforcement than police traffic stops; flashing beacons for pedestrian crosswalks; new ‘safe routes’ via sidewalks or other protected pathways to school or public transit in underserved communities; and other ‘quick build’ roadway changes designed with community input.

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