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Maine's Federal Lawmakers Split On Joe Biden's Minimum Wage Hike

As part of his $1.9 trillion-dollar pandemic relief package, President-elect Joe Biden wants the federal minimum wage to more than double, from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.

While the proposal does not have a price tag, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District says it would help the lowest paid workers.

“I support the $15 minimum wage and for the fact that people who are makin less than that are not making ends meet and are not getting by,” she says. “During this moment in time, when we are depending on many of the lowest wage workers to keep our economy going and to go out there and do much of the work that is essential but also dangerous to be doing, the very least we can be doing is increasing the minimum wage.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says the question of increasing the minimum wage should be debated separately and not be part of the stimulus package. She says an increase is needed, but she is unsure the $15 an hour is the right level.

“It is overdue for us to look at increasing the federal minimum wage, but it should be considered separately,” she says.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King supports the increase, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden’s office says he is reviewing the whole package.