Senate Parliamentarian Rules That Democrats Cannot Raise Minimum Wage in Coronavirus Bill

The Senate parliamentarian ruled on Thursday that the minimum wage increase proposed by Democrats cannot be included in the budget reconciliation process, CBS News reports.

Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled, as President Joe Biden and many Democrats expected, that the minimum wage increase to $15 would not comply with the rules for the budget reconciliation process, which require all measures to be budget-related and not raise the federal deficit.

Even if MacDonough allowed the increase, as Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders had hoped, it’s unclear that centrist Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema would support the increase anyway.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he is “deeply disappointed” in the ruling.

"We are not going to give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 to help millions of struggling American workers and their families," he said. "The American people deserve it, and we are committed to making it a reality."

Vice President Kamala Harris can unilaterally overrule the parliamentarian’s ruling but the White House has already ruled out such a move.

Bernie plots plan B:

Sanders said he “strongly disagrees” with the ruling but said he would get to work on a bill that would require big corporations to pay $15 per hour while giving incentives to small businesses to raise their wages.

"In the coming days, I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from large, profitable corporations that don't pay workers at least $15 an hour and to provide small businesses with the incentives they need to raise wages. That amendment must be included in this reconciliation bill," he said.

Progressives say blow it up:

Progressive lawmakers called for Democrats to press forward, either by having Harris overrule the parliamentarian or by ending the filibuster.

“I’m sorry—an unelected parliamentarian does not get to deprive 32 million Americans the raise they deserve,” said California Rep. Ro Khanna. “This is an advisory, not a ruling. VP Harris needs to disregard and rule a $15 minimum wage in order. We were elected to deliver for the people. It’s time we do our job.”

“We can't just go out there and promise people things and then not deliver,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told the Daily Beast. “In two years if we go out and tell people why we didn't pass the minimum wage, saying ‘the parliamentarian wouldn't let us do it’ is really not going to cut it.”


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