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Sen. Brown Confident Minimum Wage Hike Will Be Substantial, Happen Quickly

Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown
John Minchillo
Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says he’s confident the minimum wage will be raised quickly and substantially, even though a provision to hike it to $15 an hour won’t be included in the latest $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

The state's senior U.S. senator said that, although the Senate parliamentarian ruled the increase can’t be included in budget-tied COVID-19 aid package, Democrats will find a way to pass it because that's what voters want.

“They don’t care about all the inner machinations going on in Congress. They don’t care how we do it," Brown said. "It’s up to us to figure out how we substantially increase wages in this country.”

Brown wouldn’t get specific on a conference call with local Democratic officeholderson how the COVID-19 relief bill will help their communities. But he said Democrats are united in supporting a substantial increase.

“We will move quickly and we’ll figure this out. I’m not going to debate on a call like this on how exactly we’re going to do it," Brown said. "I’m talking to Sen. [Ron] Wyden (D-Ore.), talking to Sen. [Chuck] Schumer (D-N.Y.). We have overwhelming support on the Democratic side for a substantial increase in the minimum wage."

But Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are opposed to the $15-per-hour proposal.

Meanwhile, Republicans Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton (R-Okla.) have proposed a hike to $10 an hour, tied to a requirement that employers use the E-verify system to check the citizenship of workers.

Ohio's Republican Sen. Rob Portman also supports that plan.