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Politics Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike

04:02  27 february  2021
04:02  27 february  2021 Source:   thehill.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.

Democrats are racing to salvage a key progressive agenda item -- higher wages for low-paid workers -- but they are running out of time to attach it to their .9 trillion stimulus bill and pass the legislation by a March 14 deadline. Democrats would need to finish writing the new language, vet it, and unite all 50 senators in their caucus behind it. While the House is expected to pass its version of Biden’s stimulus late Friday, the real action is in the Senate, after the parliamentarian ruled that raising the .25 minimum wage , as written in the existing legislation, did not qualify for budget rules bypassing

The race to modify the minimum wage provision comes after Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, advised Senate offices that the language as written would violate the strict budgetary rules that restrict what can be included in legislation used in the reconciliation process, and give Republicans grounds to jettison it from the package in the Senate. “House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement Thursday evening.

Democrats are scrambling to chart a path forward on a top progressive priority after the Senate parliamentarian blocked them from including a $15 minimum wage in a sprawling $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.

a person wearing a suit and tie standing in a room: Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) © Greg Nash Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have already pitched an alternative approach - taxing big, profitable companies that pay below $15 an hour - that could find broader backing from moderates, but have a more limited impact on poverty.

A senior Democratic aide said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) was looking to add the provision to the relief package.

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.

Democrats tried to squeeze the minimum wage hike into the so-called budget reconciliation process, which allows them to avoid a GOP filibuster and pass their Covid aid bill with 50 Democratic votes. But unless they can find some workaround or alternative solution, Democrats will need 10 Republicans to support it — an unlikely proposition given the yawning chasm between the two parties on the issue. Although Republicans have released a bill raising the wage to an hour and strengthening usage of the e-Verify immigration system among employers, Democrats have little interest in cutting a deal

Democrats are trying to squeeze the minimum wage hike into the so-called budget reconciliation process, which allows them to avoid a GOP filibuster and pass their Covid aid bill with 50 Democratic votes. Otherwise, they will need 10 Republicans to support it, an unlikely proposition given the yawning chasm between the two parties on the issue. Although Republicans have released a bill raising the wage to an hour and strengthening usage of the e-Verify immigration system among employers, Democrats have little interest in cutting a deal right now.

The White House, however, was noncommittal in its response to the so-called Plan B approach, while suggesting negotiations and debate over the new provision could slow the relief bill's advance. Emergency unemployment benefits begin running out on March 14, and Democrats have vowed to have the bill approved and signed before then.

"We recognize there will be continued conversation on this proposal and others as the legislative process plays out over the coming days," a White House spokesperson said Friday.

"Meanwhile our focus will be on the urgent priority of getting this package passed and delivering the relief that is so desperately needed -- $1400 rescue checks for most Americans, funding to get this virus under control, aid to get our schools reopened and desperately needed help for the people who have been hardest hit by this crisis," the spokesperson added.

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.

“House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary. Therefore, this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the floor tomorrow," Pelosi said. “Tomorrow, when we pass the American Rescue Plan, the American people will know that Help Is On The Way.” Pelosi added that House Democrats are "determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight For 15" but didn't specify the other options. The Senate parliamentarian ruled earlier Thursday night that the provision, which would increase the federal minimum wage to per hour by 2025, did not comply with arcane

Ballasy breaks down minimum wage hike in COVID Stimulus plan. Just The News. 2m18s. Minimum wage increase will destroy the economy. ahnertp.

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.

"House Democrats believe that the minimum - wage hike is necessary," Pelosi said in a statement. "Therefore this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the floor tomorrow." Yet designing and gathering support for a new plan to raise wages could complicate the swift timeline Democrats are pursuing. Some centrist Democrats may be reluctant to increase taxes on businesses during the economic downturn. It's unclear whether the proposal would be supported by Sen.

President Biden's scramble to undo former President Donald Trump's immigration promises isn't pleasing anyone. Trump, of course, isn't happy that his successor has issued executive orders aimed at evaluating and dismantling the dozens of intricate actions his team took to curb immigration to the Republicans rallied solidly Wednesday against Democrats ' proposed .9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill as lawmakers awaited a decision by the Senate's parliamentarian that could bolster or potentially kill a pivotal provision hiking the federal minimum wage . Democrats showed no signs of backing down

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Some top Democrats in the House signaled there was no consensus with their Senate colleagues on what strategy to employ.

"I think there's broad support here for raising the minimum wage. And I think that based on what they decide to do in terms of the reconciliation package, that I assume we'll react to that, but I wouldn't prescribe, from my vantage point, giving them any advice on that," said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.).

Progressives appear open to the alternative plan put forth in the Senate, though they indicated they'll keep pushing for enacting a statutory minimum wage increase, even if it's separate from the relief bill.

"Bernie and I talked about it and I'm very supportive of doing whatever we can. But at the end of the day we promised a $15 minimum wage, 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," said Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

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.

Republicans are largely opposed to raising the minimum wage to $15, although some are open to a smaller increase from the $7.25 rate that has been in place since 2009.

The debate around the minimum wage had already begun to evolve in recent days, before the Senate parliamentarian's ruling on Thursday, as five Senate Republicans signed onto a plan from GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and tighten enforcement against hiring undocumented workers. Their bill would also index the minimum wage to inflation.

The newfound openness on the Republican side of the aisle is being viewed by some as a response to broad public support for raising the minimum wage. Florida voters approved a $15 minimum with 61 percent support in November, 10 points more than former President Trump received in the presidential election. Even before the pandemic, the Pew Research Center found that 67 percent of the public supported the $15 target.

While the majority of Democrats would be loath to accept either a $10 minimum or the tightened restrictions outside of a wider immigration deal, the gambit puts in play the kind of bipartisan compromise Biden campaigned on last year.

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.

Even if Democrats postpone efforts to boost the minimum wage through the COVID-19 relief bill, they could return to it in a separate measure that would be subject to a 60-vote threshold to break a Senate filibuster. The relief bill requires only a simple majority because it's being considered under the budget reconciliation process.

Still, the approach of taxing big companies for low wages floated by Wyden and Sanders found unlikely support from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who on Friday unveiled his own bill that would tax corporations with over $1 billion in revenues for paying wages below $15 an hour.

"For decades, the wages of everyday, working Americans have remained stagnate while monopoly corporations have consolidated industry after industry, securing record profits for CEOs and investment bankers," Hawley said in a statement.

"Mega-corporations can afford to pay their workers $15 an hour, and it's long past time they do so, but this should not come at the expense of small businesses already struggling to make it."

Even before Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough threw a wrench in the Democratic plans, the $15 minimum wage fight faced internal obstacles.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) made clear that he opposed the $15 rate, saying $11 was more appropriate for a rural state like West Virginia. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said the provision should not be considered as part of emergency relief legislation, but has not weighed in on a preferred hourly rate.

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. Meltdown This article is part of the The DC Brief, TIME’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to get stories like this sent to your inbox every…Washington 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.

Most House Democrats are on board with the $15 minimum wage, prompting Democratic leaders to keep the provision in their version of the pandemic relief bill set for a vote on Friday evening despite knowing it'll eventually end up on the cutting room floor.

The only remaining House Democrat who voted against raising the minimum wage to $15 in 2019, Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.), told The Hill that he might vote against the COVID-19 relief package in part because of the provision.

"Let's do something that, especially in the middle of a pandemic, that doesn't cost jobs and encourages folks to hire, gives them some hope," said Schrader, who prefers a minimum wage that's regionally adjusted, adding he would "have to take a look" at the Wyden and Sanders proposal.

While House Democrats can afford a small number of defections, Senate Democrats are in a more precarious position.

With no GOP support expected for the relief bill, a single Democratic defection could sink the whole package in the evenly divided Senate, where Vice President Harris would cast any tie-breaking vote.

The Thursday night decision by MacDonough sparked renewed calls from progressives to have Harris overrule the parliamentarian, have Schumer replace her, or even scrap the filibuster, another plan that lacks the support of all Senate Democrats.

"So we mean to say millions and millions and millions more people voted for Democrats in the Senate than Republicans, and to say that, you know, that their lives won't change, I don't think that that's something that we can really accept as a party. And so really our options right now, at least our immediate options on this specific issue, is to do something about this parliamentary obstacle or abolish the filibuster. Those are our two options right now," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Friday.

The Biden administration had already made clear that it has no interest in pursuing either of those options.

"Certainly that's not something we would do. We're going to honor the rules of the Senate and work within that system to get this bill passed," White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Wednesday on MSNBC.

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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