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LATEST: WV lawmakers in Washington for increasing minimum wage

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The U.S. Senate on April 30 blocked a bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage.

The wage would have been increased from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over 30 months. Democrats argued the increase would have helped millions of low-income families.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he believed the increase would help West Virginians by creating 700 new jobs.

The average annual raise for West Virginian workers, according to Manchin, would have been $1,712. While West Virginian workers would have gotten a $168,000 raise, he said.

Manchin said, in a statement, he was disappointed in the bill being blocked.

“This bill would cut the number of Americans enrolled in SNAP by more than 3 million and save taxpayers almost $4.6 billion,” Manchin said. “We can all agree that Americans who work hard and provide for themselves and their families should not live below the poverty line and deserve a raise. By increasing the national minimum wage, we would not only help West Virginians and Americans receive a fair shot at building better lives for their families, but we would also boost economic prosperity and create jobs.

“This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue, this is an American issue. We all would benefit from a minimum wage increase, and so I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in order to find middle ground and pass this beneficial, commonsense agenda.”

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said the country must preserve the promise of the American dream for everyone.

“If you work hard, if you earn calloused hands, you should be able to rise to the heights of success in America,” Rahall said. “A higher minimum wage is necessary to afford that opportunity to every West Virginian willing to strive for it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.