Democrats Embrace $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage

Political Connection
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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) — Democrats amended their party platform late Saturday to call for a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage — a victory for Bernie Sanders, who is fighting to push the party leftward before his expected endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

The amendment calls for the change “over time” — less specific language than Sanders had wanted, making it a concession for Clinton.

But it is much more specific than the previous draft of the platform, which said Americans “should earn more than $15 an hour” but didn’t mention the federal minimum wage specifically.

The change came at the Democratic National Committee’s platform meeting in Orlando. They’re set to finalize the party’s policy positions — and attempt to bridge the gaps between Clinton and Sanders — ahead of the Democrats’ convention in Philadelphia later this month.

The amendment calling for the $15-an-hour federal minimum wage was introduced by former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a Sanders supporter.

Mary Kay Henry, the international president of the Service Employees International Union, proposed adding language that included the phrase “over time.”

Both were adopted without a fight — the product of hours of negotiations between the Clinton and Sanders camps at an Orlando hotel on the first day of the two-day meeting.

The minimum wage language pushes Clinton left of the position she’s taken on the campaign trail. She has supported a $12-an-hour federal minimum wage, as well as local efforts to set higher minimum wages in places like New York and California.

The negotiations over contentious issues like the minimum wage, trade, fracking and climate change delayed the meeting by hours.

It was set to begin at 3 p.m. ET, but members met only to approve the preamble and then broke for several hours before starting again at 11 p.m. ET.

Another big fight looms over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Sanders’ camp has pressed for language that would call for the 12-country trade deal to never receive a vote in Congress — after a new president is sworn in or in a lame-duck session beforehand. That, though, would be a stinging rebuke of President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated it.

The platform gathering in Orlando comes ahead of Sanders’ expected joint appearance with Clinton in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

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