Politics Minimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster
$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.
A Senate official's ruling against Democrats' $15 minimum wage hike in the next coronavirus bill has revived calls to end the Senate filibuster.
Democrats are trying to pass the legislation through reconciliation, a fast-track process that lets them bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster. Therefore, every provision included in the bill needs to pass the arcane budget rules.
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough that boosting the minimum wage in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill does not comply with budget rules.
Labor Rights Activists Say Minimum Wage Proposals From Manchin, Romney Aren't Living Wages
"The $15 minimum wage itself is a compromise," said Adam Shah, policy director at Jobs With Justice."What we're telling people, if we settle for less, is that rather than having a week in the month where you can't find food, we're saying you'll have three or four days in the month where you can't find food," Adam Shah, policy director at Jobs With Justice, told Newsweek.
The decision was a blow to progressives, who saw the measure as a key provision of the relief bill.
Progressive senators took to Twitter after the ruling Thursday to express their frustration with the decision and to call for the nixing of the filibuster.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) tweed on Thursday "Democrats should not be held hostage by Mitch McConnell to help struggling families. It is time to get rid of the filibuster to raise the minimum wage to $15 and pass the other bold policies that Americans voted for us to deliver."
Democrats should not be held hostage by Mitch McConnell to help struggling families. It is time to get rid of the filibuster to raise the minimum wage to $15 and pass the other bold policies that Americans voted for us to deliver.
Everything you need to know about the minimum wage debate
The last time the federal minimum wage increased was back in 2009, when it rose to $7.25 per hour. Activists have waged a nearly decade-long campaign for an increase to $15 per hour, and President Biden has said he wants to enact that raise into law. “There should be a national minimum wage of $15 an hour,” he said last month. Raising the minimum wage is supported by a majority of Americans, with a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll finding 52 percent in favor of raising it to $15 per hour, versus 37 percent in opposition.- Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren)
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) tweeted "end the filibuster. Raise the minimum wage."
End the filibuster.
Raise the minimum wage.- Senator Alex Padilla (@SenAlexPadilla)
But despite calls from lawmakers, Senate Democrats are not likely to be able to successfully nix the filibuster. Democrats would need all 50 members of their caucus to invoke the "nuclear option," which would end the filibuster with a simple majority.
However, moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have already said they would oppose getting rid of the filibuster, and several other members haven't expressed an opinion on the move either way.
Still, some progressive lawmakers Thursday night pushed for the Senate to end the filibuster in order to pass a $15 minimum wage.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), also knocked the procedure on Twitter, saying "The filibuster was never in the constitution, originated mostly by accident, and has historically been used to block civil rights. No legislatures on earth have a supermajority requirement because that's stupid and paralyzing. It's time to trash the Jim Crow filibuster."
Progressives find a villain after minimum wage defeat: the filibuster
Progressives are channeling their energy into a renewed push to kill the filibuster. © Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images “So if that $15 minimum wage isn’t in this package, we are going to have to figure out a way to get it through. And if that means reforming the filibuster, then we should reform the filibuster," Rep. Pramila Jayapal said. One day after the Senate parliamentarian effectively forced a $15 minimum wage hike out of Democrats' coronavirus relief package, leading liberal activists are racing to turn their bitter setback into opportunity.
The filibuster was never in the constitution, originated mostly by accident, and has historically been used to block civil rights. No legislatures on earth have a supermajority requirement because that's stupid and paralyzing. It's time to trash the Jim Crow filibuster.- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz)
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also tweeted "the filibuster is killing Democracy."
The filibuster is killing democracy.- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT)
After MacDonough's ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the minimum wage increase willin the bill when the House votes on it, leaving it to the Senate to remove the language.
Joe Manchin opens the door to filibuster reform .
Joe Manchin’s suggestion for changing the filibuster: “Make them stand there and talk.”In a series of television interviews, Manchin emphasized his support for the filibuster rule, which effectively imposes a 60-vote threshold for most legislative action in the Senate. But he told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that “if you want to make [filibustering] a little bit more painful — make them stand there and talk — I’m willing to look at any way we can.