Joe Manchin Wants Meeting About $15 Minimum Wage, Campaigners Say

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has sought a meeting with activists who planned to protest outside the Democratic lawmaker's office over his opposition to a federal $15 minimum wage, according to campaigners.

The Poor People's Campaign said in a statement on Monday that Manchin asked for a meeting with the group, which had planned to hold an in-person protest outside his office in Charleston, West Virginia on the same day.

However, poor weather caused the demonstration to be canceled. "The campaign has postponed its plans for an in-person event outside Sen. Manchin's office in Charleston because of an ice storm," the Poor People's Campaign said.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, said a meeting could take place as early as this week, but Manchin's office has not yet confirmed that any meeting will take place.

"The campaign agreed to the meeting but only if it included a diverse group of low-wage workers and moral leaders from the West Virginia Poor People's Campaign," Rev. Dr. Barber II said in a statement yesterday.

Newsweek has contacted Senator Manchin's office to confirm whether any meeting will go ahead. The Poor People's Campaign has also been asked for further details on a potential future meeting. This article will be updated with any responses.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Manchin have both publicly opposed the proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. House Democrats are pushing to include it in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Sinema and Manchin's votes could be the difference between the measure passing the evenly-split Senate through the budget reconciliation process, or being removed from the stimulus bill altogether.

If the pair vote down the proposal, Democrats will need at least two GOP senators to break with their party on the issue.

Speaking to The Hill earlier this month, Manchin was asked whether he was a supporter of the $15 minimum wage. "No, I'm not," he replied. "I'm supportive of basically having something that's responsible and reasonable."

Sinema has taken issue with the measure on parliamentary grounds. She told Politico that she would not support the $15 minimum wage being included in the budget reconciliation process if it was not "directly related" to short-term COVID relief.

"The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process," the Arizona Democrat added. "It is not a budget item. And it shouldn't be in there."

Biden appears to have conceded that the minimum wage hike is unlikely to make it into the final relief bill, even though the measure passed the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on the third day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on February 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images