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Politics Prospects for a $15 federal minimum wage look bleak

21:04  26 february  2021
21:04  26 february  2021 Source:   qz.com

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.

Geraldine Doyle holding a sign posing for the camera: A protest for a higher minimum wage in the US. © Provided by Quartz A protest for a higher minimum wage in the US.

The future for millions of Americans working low-wage jobs still looks to be $7.25 an hour.

Democrats were pushing to include an increase in the federal minimum wage as part of a proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package, but its fate has likely been determined: On Feb. 25, the US Senate’s parliamentarian said that hiking the minimum wage to $15, as the Democrats sought to do, could not be included in the bill, arguing it falls outside the scope of what the Democrats can do in the budget reconciliation process.

Invoking reconciliation is a tactic that protects the package from a filibuster, bypassing the need for 60 Senate votes and allowing it to pass with only a simple majority in the closely divided chamber. But that comes with stringent rules requiring that components of the bill be tied directly to the budget.

The $15 minimum wage could be the first major test of Democratic unity

  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.

The House is voting today on the stimulus package, which will bring Americans closer to receiving $1,400 checks as the legislation moves onto the Senate.

Bernie Sanders and Josh Hawley suggest similar alternatives

Getting a federal $15 minimum wage was seen as a test of whether US president Joe Biden would be able to work across the aisles. Biden, a Senate veteran, had predicted that a minimum wage hike would not survive the procedural process.

The provision will now have to be considered as a standalone bill or as part of another piece of legislation. Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said it would not stand a chance in that case. “As of now, there’s not one Republican who will support a $15 an hour minimum,” he said in an interview with MSNBC. “The only way that we are going to raise the minimum wage is through reconciliation or ending the filibuster.”

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.

Sanders said he is now looking to propose an addition to the stimulus package that would take tax deductions away from companies that fail to pay their workers at least a $15 hourly wage. The tactic could get bipartisan support—Missouri Republican Josh Hawley announced a similar plan to Sanders’ that would essentially require companies with more than $1 billion in revenue to pay a $15 minimum wage.

Other Republicans have proposed minimum wage increases short of $15. Senators Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton are proposing a raise to $10 an hour, but would attach that to requirements businesses to use the federal government’s E-verify program to ensure that they are not hiring undocumented workers.

At least two Senate Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have opposed a $15 minimum wage. Manchin had proposed an increase to $11 instead.

Democrats’ remaining options for raising the minimum wage, explained

  Democrats’ remaining options for raising the minimum wage, explained Democrats haven’t given up on increasing the minimum wage just yet.That decision likely means that the $15 minimum wage is effectively dead — for now. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has said repeatedly, 10 Republican senators are not going to sign on to this type of increase, meaning lawmakers won’t be able to get the 60 votes it needs to pass through regular order.

Any increase would mark the first raise since 2009.

Five US states do not have a minimum wage above the federal level

Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would boost the pay for as many as 27 million Americans and lift nearly 1 million out of poverty. It also would result in the loss of as many as 1.4 million jobs, the agency predicted.

The federal minimum wage is now just one-third of the median US wage. Many states have set minimums above the federal level. But five states—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee—do not have a state minimum wage requirement.

Despite the wrangling in Congress, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is overwhelmingly popular with Americans of various political persuasions. In November, Florida voters passed a $15 minimum wage in the same election that saw them vote for the re-election of Donald Trump to the White House.

Numerous attempts to raise the federal minimum wage have died on the Congressional floor. Former US president Barack Obama unsuccessfully called on Congress to raise the minimum wage in 2014. In 2019, the House voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, but the Senate killed the proposal.

After the latest maneuvering failed to pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian, some progressive Congressional members, like Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar, openly shared their frustration.

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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