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Politics Minimum wage increase imperiled in covid relief bill by Senate official’s ruling

04:51  26 february  2021
04:51  26 february  2021 Source:   washingtonpost.com

$15 minimum wage debate: Everything you need to know

  $15 minimum wage debate: Everything you need to know House Democrats have included a minimum wage hike in their latest Covid relief bill, although opposition among some Senate Democrats means it is not at all clear they will have the votes to pass it. © Scott Olson/Getty Images Demonstrators participate in a protest outside of McDonald's corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Improving worker pay is unrelated in that raising the minimum wage has long been a Democratic priority.

Parliamentarian says the hourly minimum wage , a liberal priority, not allowed in relief bill under Senate rules . In this Feb. 10, 2021, image from video, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, seated in the back second row third from right, talks as senators gather in the foreground around Manchin and a second Senate Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) had indicated opposition to including the minimum wage increase in Biden’ s covid relief bill anyway, so even if the parliamentarian’ s ruling had gone the other way, it’ s not clear the provision would have been able to advance.

“Very pleased the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a minimum wage increase is an inappropriate policy change in reconciliation,” he said on Twitter. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Biden and many of his fellow Democrats want to more than double the Democrats are trying to advance the COVID -19 bill under a special “budget reconciliation” process that would allow them to pass it in the Senate using a simple majority, so they will not need Republican support. But there are rules that limit what can be included using that process, and it is

President Biden’s proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage increase cannot remain in his coronavirus relief bill as written, the Senate’s parliamentarian said Thursday, imperiling a major Biden campaign promise and top priority for the Democratic Party’s liberal wing.

a group of people in a room: In this Feb. 10, 2021, image from video, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, seated in the back second row third from right, talks as senators gather in the foreground around Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., bottom left, during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. MacDonough has guided the Senate through two impeachment trials, vexed Democrats and Republicans alike with parliamentary opinions and helped rescue Electoral College certificates from a pro-Trump mob ransacking the Capitol.(Senate Television via AP) © AP/AP In this Feb. 10, 2021, image from video, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, seated in the back second row third from right, talks as senators gather in the foreground around Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., bottom left, during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. MacDonough has guided the Senate through two impeachment trials, vexed Democrats and Republicans alike with parliamentary opinions and helped rescue Electoral College certificates from a pro-Trump mob ransacking the Capitol.(Senate Television via AP)

The ruling 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.

The problem with a one-size-fits-all federal minimum wage hike

  The problem with a one-size-fits-all federal minimum wage hike Minimum wages are not a free good. They have tradeoffs. While politicians might not pay much mind to such economic arguments, they are well aware of the regional differences among their constituents. If they listen, they should reject a one-size-fits-all federal minimum wage hike and, instead, let cities and states make decisions that best suit the people in their communities.Ryan Young is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the study "Minimum Wages Have Tradeoffs.

The process allows the Senate to pass bills with a simple majority — in this case with no Republicans. However, Democrats faced challenges in passing the pay hike regardless of whether Senate rules allowed it in the legislation. House Democrats included the per hour minimum wage in the Democrats consider raising the minimum wage — stuck at .25 an hour since 2009 — a priority while they control both chambers of Congress and the White House. But as Republicans question whether a pay floor will hamper small businesses in parts of the country, the policy will not garner 60 votes

The Senate parliamentarian has ruled against including the increase in the minimum wage in the Covid relief bill , an aide familiar with the process and two sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell CNN.

Democrats had been anxiously awaiting the decision, but their next steps are not clear. Liberals are already pressuring Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to challenge the ruling on the Senate floor, although the White House has dismissed that idea.

Schumer released a brief statement Thursday night vowing to fight on, without saying how.

“We are deeply disappointed in this decision. We are not going to give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 to help millions of struggling American workers and their families,” Schumer said. "The American people deserve it, and we are committed to making it a reality.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that Biden was “disappointed in this outcome” but “respects the parliamentarian’s decision and the Senate’s process.”

Tom Cotton, Mitt Romney's $10 Minimum Wage Plan Criticized for Being Less than Arkansas' $11

  Tom Cotton, Mitt Romney's $10 Minimum Wage Plan Criticized for Being Less than Arkansas' $11 "Incrementally increasing a pitiful 7.25 wage to $10 over 5 yrs is a cruel joke. Poverty cannot be overcome just by $2.75/hour more," Democratic Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib wrote.The GOP plan, entitled the Higher Wages for American Workers Act, would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour by 2025. The plan would also require employers to phase in the use of the federal E-Verify system to ensure that only documented laborers, and not undocumented immigrants, are hired. Lastly, the plan would provide stiffer penalties to employers who hire undocumented workers.

biden-15- minimum - wage -proposal-cannot-be-part-of- covid - relief - bill /. Your comment will be reviewed by the moderator for compliance with the Rules . In the case of repeated violations of the rules above resulting in a second block of a user’ s account, access cannot be restored.

Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has found that the wage provision does not have sufficient fiscal impact in relation to its affect on the economy to qualify for budget reconciliation, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity. That means Democrats will almost certainly have to remove it from their .9 trillion Covid -19 relief bill if they want to pass it with just a simple majority vote. Democrats would now likely have to try to pass the wage increase through the ordinary legislative process, which requires 60 votes to cut off debate. The parliamentarian’ s ruling on the application of

“He will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward, because no one in this country should work full time and live in poverty,” Psaki said. “He urges Congress to move quickly to pass the American Rescue Plan.”

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The ruling was made by Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, a nonpartisan official who is little known outside Washington but may command tremendous influence over certain elements of Biden’s agenda. Her ruling pertains only to the Senate, where the legislation will move forward under complex rules that prohibit certain items that don’t have a particular impact on the budget. MacDonough determined that, as written, the minimum wage increase did not pass that test -- an outcome that had been predicted by a number of Democrats, including Biden himself.

Democrats short of a backup plan after minimum wage ruling

  Democrats short of a backup plan after minimum wage ruling The Senate parliamentarian’s decision saves them from an internal fight — but they have no clear path forward.The Senate parliamentarian’s decision to rule the wage hike out of order ahead of debate on President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan saves Democrats from an internal fight over whether to increase it to $15 an hour. But it also leaves Democrats without a clear path forward on fulfilling a key campaign promise.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders said he expects a key Senate official to rule as soon as Wednesday on whether a minimum wage increase can be included in the fast-tracked Covid -19 relief of bill . If the pensions bailout is ruled out of order, that could resolve another sticking point in the Democrats’ bill . House members carved out funding for that provision by keeping the extension of enhanced unemployment benefits to five months, rather than the six that some senators favor.

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled Thursday that a plan to boost the minimum wage as part of a .9 trillion coronavirus relief bill doesn’t comply with budget rules . The decision from the key Senate official is a significant blow to progressives, who viewed the plan to increase the minimum wage to per hour as one of their top priorities in the massive coronavirus relief plan. Because Democrats are trying to pass the coronavirus bill through reconciliation — a fast-track process that lets them bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster — every provision has to comply with arcane

Despite her ruling, the House is preparing to vote Friday to pass the stimulus relief package with the $15 minimum wage included and send it to the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday.

“House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary,” Pelosi said. “Therefore this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the floor tomorrow. Democrats in the House are determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight for 15."

Pelosi’s decision to pass the $1.9 trillion relief bill with the minimum wage language intact means Schumer will face a potentially consequential decision. He could take out the minimum wage language before putting the bill on the Senate floor, or try to keep it in the bill -- whether by challenging the parliamentarian’s ruling or trying to rewrite the provision in such a way that it could pass muster under the Senate’s complicated rules.

Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) both suggested late Thursday that they would eye pairing the wage hike with tax penalties on corporations that don’t pay a higher minimum wage, which might change whether it meets the parliamentarian’s criteria.

AOC says Democrats should overrule or FIRE the Senate parliamentarian

  AOC says Democrats should overrule or FIRE the Senate parliamentarian Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Democrats should overrule or fire the Senate parliamentarian after Elizabeth MacDonough ruled the $15 minimum wage cannot be included in COVID relief package.'I think all options should be on the table,' she told reporters on Capitol Hill when asked about the matter.

Schumer has not said what he will do. Liberals are pushing him and the Biden administration to try to overrule the parliamentarian’s decision, which Democrats could attempt to do on the Senate floor.

“We said we’d raise the wage. Now, we need to deliver,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on Twitter. “We must be prepared to use every tool in our toolbox to get this done, whether it’s overruling the parliamentarian if necessary or finally ending the filibuster. Not delivering is not an option.”

But White House chief of staff Ron Klain has publicly ruled out trying to overrule the parliamentarian, and Democrats would not likely command the necessary votes to succeed anyway, since at least one Senate Democrat -- Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) -- has said he would not vote to overrule the parliamentarian.

The Senate is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, so Democrats need unanimity in their ranks to pass Biden’s coronavirus relief legislation and overcome procedural hurdles like the minimum wage ruling. They are pushing the legislation forward over unified GOP opposition under a procedure called “budget reconciliation” that allows them to prevail with a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes normally required -- but also limits what can be included in the package, such as the minimum wage increase.

61 Places Where the Minimum Wage Is Rising in 2021

  61 Places Where the Minimum Wage Is Rising in 2021 Many workers don't need to wait for Congress to act to get a minimum wage hike this year. Depending on where they live, they may already be getting one.The fate of the Raise the Wage Act is unclear after the Senate parliamentarian, its chief rule-enforcer, ruled on February 25 that the provision to increase the minimum wage included in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion economic relief plan does not meet the guidelines required to move forward in the fast-track process known as budget reconciliation.

Manchin and a second Senate Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) had indicated opposition to including the minimum wage increase in Biden’s covid relief bill anyway, so even if the parliamentarian had allowed the minimum wage increase, it’s not clear the provision would have been able to advance. Nevertheless, liberals had been holding out hope of being able to keep all Democrats on board to approve the overall bill with the minimum wage included.

If the Senate sends the legislation back to the House without the minimum wage increase, liberals in that chamber will have to decide whether to vote for it anyway. The legislation does include many other items Democrats widely support, including an increased child tax credit, a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals, increased and expanded unemployment insurance, and hundreds of billions of dollars for cities and states, schools, vaccinations and testing.

The House has advanced stand-alone minimum wage increase bills in the past, but it’s highly unlikely the Senate would agree to such legislation -- at least not at the $15-an-hour level liberals support.

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One possibility is to find compromise at a lower level -- Manchin has endorsed $11 an hour -- and then to try to get it in the bill in a different way, for example by crafting it more narrowly.

Several liberal Democrats said Thursday they need to do whatever it takes to raise the minimum wage -- including eliminating the filibuster, the 60-vote rule that gives the minority party enormous sway in the Senate. Manchin and Sinema have said publicly they oppose taking that step.

“We still need to pass the minimum wage, and if that means getting rid of the filibuster, so be it,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

Joe Manchin's $11 Minimum Wage More Popular Than Biden's $15—Among Democrats and Republicans .
While a majority (60 percent) of voters approve of the increase to $15 per hour, 71 percent support a more modest hike to $11.President Joe Biden and Democrats campaigned on raising the federal minimum wage to $15, and House Democrats included the wage hike in their version of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. However, the wage hike looks unlikely to survive in the Senate's version of the bill, as that chamber's parliamentarian ruled it could not be passed through the budget reconciliation process. Meanwhile, GOP Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas have put forward a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour—close to what Manchin has suggested.

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