Senate Democrats Won't Pursue $15 Minimum Wage Hike in COVID Package
Senate Democrats will not pursue legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15, according to CNBC.
Democrats hoped to increase the minimum wage with tax penalties and other economic incentives. The legislation was disheveled after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the federal minimum wage increase should not be included in the stimulus package if Democrats hope to pass the COVID relief bill without Republican support.
Following that decision, Senators such as Bernie Sanders proposed that corporations paying less than that threshold be punished with a 5 percent levy on the payroll. The stimulus package proposed by the Biden administration now moves to the Senate after passing through the House on Saturday.
Democrats hope to get the bill to Biden's desk by March 14 to ensure that Americans are not left with depleted unemployment services. The bill includes direct payments of $1,400, funding for vaccine distribution, and $350 billion in aid to state and local governments.
Senators plan to address the concerns laid out in the House regarding the bill and potentially amend it this week. More progressive lawmakers, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, have asked that President Joe Biden overrule Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough's ruling to exclude the minimum wage increase.
On Monday, Ro Khanna of California asked the new administration to overrule the Senate parliamentarian's ruling.
“This ruling is a bridge too far. We’ve been asked, politely but firmly, to compromise on nearly all of our principles & goals. Not this time,” Khanna said in a letter. “If we don’t overrule the Senate parliamentarian, we are condoning poverty wages for millions of Americans. That’s why I’m leading my colleagues in urging the Biden Administration to lean on the clear precedent and overrule this misguided decision.”
President Joe Biden would likely receive criticism if he does overrule the Senate parliamentarian's ruling. The minimum wage hike should be voted on by both parties in a normal fashion to ensure that our democracy is maintained. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported that raising the minimum wage to $15 would lead to 1.4 million lost jobs by 2025.