Democrats are pushing for their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill because they want to use the pandemic as an excuse to enact "longstanding liberal priorities," according to Sen. Tom Cotton.
"We know why the Democrats decided to make this a partisan bill," the Arkansas Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "They didn't want to cooperate with Republicans, even though we worked on a bipartisan basis last year, [with] the past five bills, almost $4 trillion to help the country through the pandemic."
Last March, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "put the brakes" on a bill because she wanted money for several liberal priorities, including for San Francisco's mass transit system, said Cotton.
"What does mass transit in San Francisco have to do with a global pandemic?" he said. "It has nothing to do with it. It only has to do with Nancy Pelosi getting earmarks for her district."
Cotton also pointed out that he and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, have been working on a minimum wage bill, but not up to the $15 an hour sought by Democrats.
"Obviously, the votes are not there for $15 for minimum wage," said Cotton. "We would like to see it go to American workers, and we pair it with the e-verify programs where every business across the country will have to verify that its employees are legally authorized to work in the United States."
He added that while the dollar figure is below $15 on the bill he and Romney want, the pay hike is "sizable; a real increase in real terms with inflation from the last time Congress passed a minimum wage increase in 2009."
Cotton said the minimum wage legislation he and Romney are seeking is "directly connected" with President Joe Biden's moves to end his predecessor's border policies.
Biden, he said, wants to offer amnesty and work authorization to "15 to 20 million illegal immigrants in the country ... at the same time they are inviting millions of more people to cross the borders and come here and work. It's crazy. Those jobs should go back to the Americans who lost those jobs during the pandemic."
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