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Politics $15 Minimum Wage Is Dead for Now Thanks to One Unelected Official

04:51  26 february  2021
04:51  26 february  2021 Source:   nymag.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.

In a fateful and long-awaited ruling, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has decided that a bill to implement Joe Biden’s COVID stimulus legislation cannot include a boost in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. At this juncture, it’s unclear whether MacDonald’s ruling encompasses any minimum wage hike or only the version promoted by congressional Democrats. But either way it’s a major procedural blow to implementation of Democrats’ plan to pass relief through budget reconciliation since Republican filibusters will almost certainly preclude any minimum-wage hike pursued outside the charmed circle of a reconciliation package that can’t be filibustered.

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.

a group of people standing in front of a beach: Sorry! The Byrd Rule prohibits it! CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag © CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag Sorry! The Byrd Rule prohibits it! CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

On the one hand the ruling saves Democrats from an internal battle between the vast majority of their House and Senate members who favor the $15 minimum wage and the few who don’t, such as Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. It is not at all likely that any Democrat is interested in alleged Republican compromise proposals for a much lower minimum wage hike married to restrictive immigration provisions. Still, pressure for the higher minimum wage could buttress those inclined to overturn the parliamentarian’s ruling. At the same time support for keeping with Senate tradition and letting the parliamentarian have the final say reportedly includes Biden and Kamala Harris.

We may yet see how far the impetus for raising the minimum wage advances, both in Congress and in the states, but the relief that was in sight for low-income workers just got further away after tonight.

Why a Debate on the Minimum Wage Could Spark a D.C. Meltdown .
Why a Debate on the Minimum Wage Could Spark a D.C. MeltdownWashington is a lot like high school: being popular doesn’t necessarily translate to getting taken seriously. Twin Democratic priorities are about to face their Mean Girls test.

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