Sen. Joe Manchin: Open to discussions on raising minimum wage to less than $10.10 an hour

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Sen. Joe Manchin III said Thursday he’s open to discussing a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to a level less than $10.10 an hour even though Democratic leadership in the Senate has declared the amount non-negotiable.

“I would like to think that if you believe $7.25 is not acceptable and you’re willing to move forward — put politics aside and sit down and try to help people and that’s what we’re going to do,” Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “One-hundred percent of nothing is nothing. Right now, we’ve got nothing. … I’m willing to sit down and talk about anything that’ll raise it off of seven-and-a-quarter.”

Mr. Manchin also broached the idea of tying the federal minimum wage to inflation as a possible way forward after a bill to raise it from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour was filibustered in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

The $1.60-an-hour minimum wage in 1968 would be $10.68 now if it had been tied to inflation, Mr. Manchin said.

“We can get it to where inflation can take over, and we don’t have to keep playing politics with it,” he said. “Now, $10.10 is not acceptable to our Republican friends. Is there a pathway forward?”

Even some Democratic members have said they would be open to negotiating on a floor wage less than $10.10 an hour, but Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has said that level is non-negotiable.

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