WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Democrats have proposed a $15 federal minimum wage hike to be included in their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, but the Senate Parliamentarian rejected the measure’s inclusion.
- They found the measure to be lacking in the necessary requirements to be included in a fast-track budget reconciliation process.
- The next steps are yet to be discussed among the White House and Congress in the following days.
The $15 federal minimum wage hike proposed by Democrats has been denied by the Senate Parliamentarian from being included in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
According to a source familiar with the ruling, the measure does not fit the criteria to be included in a fast-track budget reconciliation process.
Democrats will be able to pass legislation without any Republican support through this reconciliation process, but only if all their party members are in agreement. However, some moderate Democrats have expressed concerns about the minimum wage hike, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
Measures included in budget reconciliation are usually ones that affect revenue or spending.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., stated, “Very pleased the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a minimum wage increase is an inappropriate policy change in reconciliation. This decision reinforces reconciliation cannot be used as a vehicle to pass major legislative change – by either party – on a simple majority vote.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sander, I-Vt., said, “I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian. The CBO made it absolutely clear that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour had a substantial budgetary impact and should be allowed under reconciliation.”
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who suggested an even higher $23 minimum wage, called on Vice President Kamala Harris to overrule the decision.
Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., pointed out that critics are “lucky that progressives aren’t asking for $24 right now, or $25 right now.” However, she acknowledged that she would accept it if the minimum wage hike measure was ruled “out of bounds” by the Parliamentarian, but not if it was prematurely dismissed by members of the party.
President Joe Biden has also advocated for the increase, insisting that no American working 40 hours per week should live below the poverty line.
Despite the decision, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declared on Thursday that Democrats believe in the necessity of the increase, so the measure would not be removed from the bill.
The president is set to discuss the next steps with Congress in the following days.
The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 for more than a decade.
Source: FOX Business