Politics $15 minimum wage: Bernie Sanders says wage increase not 'incidental' to federal budget as its place in Covid relief bill questioned
The Hidden Costs of Biden’s $15 Minimum Wage
A new CBO report highlights the fiscal impact of Biden's proposed minimum-wage hike.The problem for Democrats is the Senate’s “Byrd rule,” under which the nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian is authorized to strip “extraneous” provisions out of such legislation. Provisions are extraneous if they fail to produce a change in outlays or revenues or produce a change that is “is merely incidental.
Sen. Bernie Sanders argued Saturday thatto $15 an hour isn't "incidental" to the federal budget, despite skepticism from Capitol Hill and the White House of its future in the President's .
"I'm very proud of the strong arguments our legal team is making to the parliamentarian that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is not 'incidental' to the federal budget and is permissible under the rules of reconciliation," the Vermont independent told CNN on Saturday.
Minimum wage increase could work under Biden’s stimulus, CBO reports
Sen. Bernie Sanders is fighting to include the minimum wage increase in the package Democrats are crafting to enact President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. Under the fast-tracked budget process Democrats could use to clear the aid package with just 51 votes in the Senate, the bill must have a direct and substantial impact on federal spending, revenues or the debt. So the Congressional Budget Office score is a boon for Democrats fighting for the minimum wage hike to be included, even as Biden casts doubt on whether it would past muster under Senate rules for the reconciliation process.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour stands as the biggest obstacle to getting President Joe Biden'sacross the finish line. Some congressional Democrats doubt the provision will be allowed under the guardrails of , a budget process that requires each provision to adhere to a strict set of rules, while a handful of moderate members have made it clear privately and in public statements that they can't support legislation that includes it.
But Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, has remained confident that the minimum wage increase will survive the review of the Senate parliamentarian and does not violate the, which keeps "extraneous" measures out of the budget. Sanders and the Budget Committee's legal team have been meeting with the Senate parliamentarian's office this week, arguing that the minimum wage increase would directly affect the federal budget and therefore be allowed to pass the Senate with only 51 votes through the reconciliation.
'There Is No Next Time' : Inside the Left’s Minimum Wage Fight
In the lead-up to the November presidential election, People’s Action, a grassroots coalition, hired a dozen former staffers from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign to discuss the merits of populist economic proposals with voters in conservative and swing states. The organizing network, overseen by Sanders alums, quickly ballooned to include some 30,000 volunteers eager to test how far President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress would be willing to go to make their pledge to raise the minimum wage a reality. For the first time in well over a decade, progressives believe it’s within striking distance.
Sanders pointed to the Congressional Budget Office'sthat the $15 minimum wage has a greater impact on the federal budget than the two provisions in Republicans' 2017 tax bill that opened acres of the and repealed the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate penalties. At the time, the Senate parliamentarian had advised that the GOP provisions did not run afoul of the Byrd Rule.
The minimum wage portion of the Covid-19 relief package has been a point of contention from the beginning. Sanders and progressive Democrats believe including it is necessary and would provide them an important legislative victory early on in the Biden administration. But Republicans are very much opposed to its inclusion and if it were included in the final package it would destroy any slim hope of bipartisan support for the plan.
The $15 minimum wage could be the first major test of Democratic unity
Democrats may soon have to confront divides in their caucus on the minimum wage.On the procedural front, Democrats need to convince the Senate parliamentarian — an in-house expert who advises on the rules of the upper chamber — that the $15 minimum wage has a significant enough effect on the budget that it can be part of the reconciliation process. Because of a practice known as the Byrd Rule, any policy that’s not seen as sufficiently budget-related can be flagged for removal by the parliamentarian. (Democrats don’t have to abide by this decision, but there have been few breaks with such guidance in the past.
And it's not just Republicans. Biden has said on multiple occasions that while he, he's skeptical it can be passed through reconciliation, and two moderate Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have made it clear they will not support the final deal if the minimum wage hike is part of it.
But Democrats are forging ahead. The House included the minimum wage increase in their, and Sanders made clear Saturday morning he has no plans to back down.
"I'm confident that the parliamentarian will advise next week that we can raise the minimum wage through the reconciliation process," he told CNN.
Sanders' legislation calls for hiking the hourly wage in stages until it hits $15 in 2025.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 would reduce the number of people in poverty by 900,000 and increase the pay of about 27 million workers, according to areleased earlier this month. But it would also cut employment by 1.4 million workers and increase the federal budget deficit by $54 billion over a decade.
Minimum wage increase imperiled in covid relief bill by Senate official’s ruling .
The guidance from the parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, was communicated privately to key Senate offices and confirmed by aides in both parties. It could be a major setback for liberals hoping to use Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill as the vehicle for their long-sought goal of raising the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour. And it could create divisions in the party as some push Democratic leaders for dramatic action to get around the parliamentarian’s ruling. Democrats had been anxiously awaiting the decision, but their next steps are not clear. Liberals are already pressuring Senate Majority Leader Charles E.