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Politics On The Money: Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP | Economy adds 49K jobs in January, unemployment falls to 6.3 percent | Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions

01:42  06 february  2021
01:42  06 february  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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President Biden’s push for $15 an hour minimum wage faces strong headwinds in Senate

  President Biden’s push for $15 an hour minimum wage faces strong headwinds in Senate Only 38 Senate Democrats support the measure, and it is expected to face unified Republican opposition. Biden proposed the $15-an-hour minimum wage hike in his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which Congressional lawmakers are starting to debate. Republicans are expected to oppose the measure. If Biden wants bipartisan support for his overall stimulus proposal, he would likely be forced to jettison the wage hike.

THE BIG DEAL-Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP: President Biden on Friday sent his strongest signal yet that he would move forward with his coronavirus relief proposal without Republican support, making the case for the need for his $1.9 trillion package by citing the January jobs report showing a weak economic recovery.

"I'd like to be doing it with the support of Republicans ... but they're just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go," Biden said in prepared remarks from the State Dining Room at the White House.

"If I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in a lengthy negotiation or compromising on a bill that's up to the crisis, that's an easy choice," Biden said. "I'm going to help the American people that are hurting now."

The GOP stimulus counteroffer, explained

  The GOP stimulus counteroffer, explained A group of Senate Republicans is countering Joe Biden’s Covid-19 relief proposal.In an outline unveiled Monday, 10 Republican lawmakers laid out their $618 billion proposal for a relief package, which includes less than a third of the funds in the $1.9 trillion rescue plan Biden has introduced.

The Hill's Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels have more here.

The context:

  • Biden's remarks came shortly after he wrapped a lengthy meeting with House Democrats in the Oval Office to discuss his relief plan.
  • Following the meeting, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) laid out a timeline to pass the $1.9 trillion package by the end of the month, with the House passing it within the next two weeks.
  • Both the House and the Senate passed the budget resolution that will be used to pass Biden's relief bill through reconciliation on Friday.

While Biden has said he's open to striking a bipartisan deal, he's made clear that in his view, Republican counteroffers do not come close to enough aid for the struggling economy.

"What Republicans have proposed is either to do nothing, or not enough," Biden said in prepared remarks on his $1.9 trillion proposal. "All of a sudden many of them have rediscovered fiscal restraint and the concern for the deficits. But don't kid yourself, this approach will come with a cost: more pain for more people for longer than it has to be."

Why doubling the minimum wage will do the opposite of what it's supposed to

  Why doubling the minimum wage will do the opposite of what it's supposed to A $15 minimum hourly wage is at best a naïve solution and at worst outright negligent. It will cost jobs and raise prices, results that harm marginalized workers.Higher incomes are a common goal, but a $15 minimum hourly wage is at best a naïve solution and at worst outright negligent. Minimum wage laws don’t make people more productive; they just force employers to extract the required wage increases from others in ways that leave many worse off. This includes cutting positions and raising prices, actions that above all harm younger, less-educated or otherwise marginalized workers — some of the same populations that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

Biden also cited January's disappointing jobs report as a key reason to approve aid quickly. We've got more on that below.

Read more on the push for coronavirus aid:

  • Key ex-Obama adviser says Biden stimulus is too big
  • Biden economic adviser calls Summers 'flat-out wrong' with inflation remarks
  • More than 200 Obama officials sign letter supporting Biden's stimulus plan

LEADING THE DAY

Economy adds 49K jobs in January, unemployment falls to 6.3 percent: The U.S. added 49,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, a 0.4 percentage point drop, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

  • January's drop in the unemployment rate and meager increase in hiring defied the consensus expectations of economists, who projected a gain of 100,000 jobs and an unchanged jobless rate.
  • Economists also warned that seasonal adjustments to the data would likely inflate January's job gains.

The takeaway: The uptick in jobs shows the recovery from the coronavirus recession resumed last month after December job losses, but the report underscored the deep damage yet to be repaired from the pandemic-driven economic crisis.

Biden not budging on $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief, presses Congress to act fast after lackluster jobs report

  Biden not budging on $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief, presses Congress to act fast after lackluster jobs report President Joe Biden pushes for $1.9 trillion in COVID relief as lackluster jobs report shows U.S. economy continues to sputter amid global pandemic.In remarks from the White House, Biden said the economy is still in trouble, and he called on Congress to quickly to pass his proposal with or without GOP support.

"This jobs report suggests signs of a nascent overall recovery, but food insecurity, costs of caregiving, persistently high unemployment, and small business stagnation necessitate emergency relief that targets those being left behind - especially women, people of color, and lower income workers," said Nicole Goldin, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, in a Friday analysis.

"Without further stimulus, our ability to get kids back in school and more fully reopen the economy will stymie consumer confidence, hiring, and investment."

I break down the report here.

Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions: Senate Democrats are facing internal divisions over efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which could result in the proposal being watered down or jettisoned from the coronavirus relief bill.

  • The wage hike is part of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, and it has the support of powerful progressives in both chambers and members of leadership.
  • But because of the 50-50 Senate split, proponents need to win over every Senate Democrat. That's setting up a fight over the wage increase as they craft the final version of the relief package.

"I support the increase in the federal minimum wage to the $15 level. I think it's way overdue that we change it. And I think it would be a good thing to do. There may be other members, even on the Democratic side, who have some concerns about it," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

Economy adds 49K jobs in January, unemployment falls to 6.3 percent

  Economy adds 49K jobs in January, unemployment falls to 6.3 percent The U.S. added 49,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, a 0.4 percentage point drop, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.The uptick in jobs shows the recovery from the coronavirus recession resumed last month after December job losses, but the report underscored the deep damage yet to be repaired from the pandemic-driven economic crisis. "This jobs report suggests signs of a nascent overall recovery, but food insecurity, costs of caregiving, persistently high unemployment, and small business stagnation necessitate emergency relief that targets those being left behind - especially women, people of color, and lower inco

The Hill's Jordain Carney tells us more about the internal battle here.

The wild card: Democrats still need a determination from the parliamentarian about whether an increase in the minimum wage complies with the arcane rules that determine what can, and cannot, be passed under the reconciliation process to bypass a filibuster. That could squander the whole plan, anyway.

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Tuesday:

  • The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee holds a confirmation hearing on Neera Tanden's nomination to be director of the White House Office of Management and Budget at 9:15 a.m.
  • The House Budget Committee holds an organizational hearing at 11 a.m.
  • The Heritage Foundation holds an event on the impact of a $15 minimum wage at 12 p.m.
  • The House Education and Labor holds a markup of its reconciliation instructions for the coronavirus relief bill at 2 p.m.
  • The Bipartisan Policy Center holds an event entitled "What's Next for Stakeholder Capitalism in 2021" at 2 p.m.

Wednesday:

  • The Senate Budget Committee holds a confirmation hearing on Neera Tanden's nomination to be director of the White House Office of Management and Budget at 10 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gives a speech on the state of the labor market at 2 p.m.
  • The Brookings Institution holds an event entitled "The COVID-19 pandemic and state and local budgets: Past, present, and future" at 2 p.m.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Five takeaways from the budget marathon
  • Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday put forward a sweeping green energy bill that would extend several clean energy tax credits, expand electric vehicle tax credits and set the stage for putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • States mailing out forms for the approaching tax-filing season are seeing a significant number of reports of unemployment fraud, according to a report by The Associated Press.
  • Stock trading app Robinhood late Thursday announced that it had lifted all temporary restrictions on stocks, following days of backlash from users and lawmakers after the company placed limits on GameStop, AMC and other stocks last week.

ODDS AND ENDS

Democrats Move $15 Minimum Wage Forward as Proposal Passes Committee

  Democrats Move $15 Minimum Wage Forward as Proposal Passes Committee Democrats celebrated the proposal's passage through committee, while Republicans warned it would cost jobs.Committee chairman Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) said Democrats had moved the minimum wage increase forward on Wednesday morning, after an overnight meeting—which saw Republican lawmakers contest aspects of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief plan.

  • Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) have introduced legislation to provide $30 billion of relief aid to the gym industry, which has been struggling throughout the coronavirus pandemic due to lockdowns and the lack of clients.
  • Amazon workers at a fulfillment center in Alabama will proceed with a vote to unionize next week after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Friday denied Amazon's request to delay the union election.

Recap the week with On The Money:

  • Monday: Schumer vows Senate will take up 'bold' coronavirus bill, rejecting GOP offer | GOP senators, Biden send positive vibes after long WH meeting
  • Tuesday: Biden calls Dems, urges big COVID bill | Biden's SEC pick sidelined as GameStop drama unfolds | Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO
  • Wednesday: Biden commits to $1,400 checks, but open to eligibility limits | House approves budget resolution for COVID-19 package | McConnell seeks to inflict political pain on budget votes
  • Thursday: White House reviewing if Biden can cancel student loan debt | Senate signals broad support for more targeted relief checks | Romney proposes monthly payments for families with children

Generation Z workers push for $15 minimum wage as Congress, Biden debate pay for all Americans .
Young workers are advocating for federal lawmakers to increase the minimum wage to $15 amid a national debate over how much Americans should earn.Cardona said he mostly works with elderly people, single mothers and young people trying to get by.

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