Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema came out against including a measure to increase the federal minimum wage in the next round of coronavirus relief, effectively killing hopes that it will be included, Politico reports.
Sinema, a centrist Democrat, said she opposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan.
“What’s important is whether or not it’s directly related to short-term Covid relief. And if it’s not, then I am not going to support it in this legislation,” she told Politico. “The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process. It is not a budget item. And it shouldn’t be in there.”
Minimum wage hopes dashed:
Sinema’s statement is likely the final nail in the push to include the measure in the relief bill. Democrats only hold 50 seats in the Senate so they cannot afford a single defection.
Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have also said they would oppose ending the filibuster, making it unlikely that Congress would be able to raise the minimum wage during this two-year term.
Sinema has also warned that she will oppose any effort to overrule the Senate parliamentarian on which provisions can be included in the budget reconciliation process that Democrats will use to pass the bill with a simple majority.
“There is no instance in which I would overrule a parliamentarian’s decision,” Sinema said. “I want to restore the 60-vote threshold for all elements of the Senate's work.”
Minimum wage likely breaks rules:
Biden previously said that he doesn’t think the minimum wage provision will “survive.”
"I put it in, but I don't think it's going to survive” the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling, he told CBS News last week.
Under Senate rules, the provisions in the budget bill must be budget items and it is unclear if the Senate parliamentarian would allow it to be included. Without a majority, Democrats cannot overrule the parliamentarian.