Pressuring Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour could push him into the Republican Party, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned Sunday on ABC’s “This Week."
Christie was participating in a panel discussion on attempts by Democrats to include boosting the minimum wage, which Manchin opposes, as part of the coronavirus relief package that has passed the House and is being debated in the Senate.
ABC correspondent Yvette Simpson said attaining the higher minimum wage was crucial, because President “Joe Biden came in on the promise that he could bring Republicans in. If he can't control his caucus, we're in trouble. He needs to do whatever it takes... If Manchin is bold enough to vote down the entire bill with $15 an hour, then he needs to be ready to take the heat.”
Christie said that “I have known Joe Manchin for 12 years, he’s not voting for it. It’s over. Joe Manchin is the only standing living Democrat left in West Virginia. So if you want to treat Joe Manchin that way, we’ll welcome him to the Republican Party.”
Simpson rejected that argument, saying Democrats “can organize all of the working class West Virginians who need this bill” to put pressure on Manchin.
Christie retorted, saying “Good, you can organize them. In the meantime, Mitch McConnell will be the majority leader again. It’s hard to be a Democrat in West Virginia.”
Republican strategist Alice Stewart, who was part of the panel, said Democrats had taken a relatively nonpartisan issue of coronavirus relief aid and made it partisan by injecting the minimum wage into the bill.
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