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$15 Minimum Wage Ruled Not Part of COVID Relief Bill

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A gavel and a name plate with the engraving Minimum Wage-Minimum Wage-ss-featured

Last Thursday, the Senate Parliamentarian disallowed the provision for minimum wage in the COVID-19 relief bill. Elizabeth MacDonough said that the minimum wage proposal doesn’t comply with Senate rules. Consequently, Democrats cannot include the measure in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

RELATED: Now that Minimum Wage is Rising, Is America Truly Doing Better?

The Parliamentarian

Democrats, realizing their razor-thin majority, have opted for reconciliation to pass legislation without the need for a two-thirds majority. However, the reconciliation process places a number of restrictions on what policy measures can be included in the legislation.

The parliamentarian is the neutral arbiter of the chamber’s rules. The title carries the designation as an official advisor to the United States Senate on the interpretation of Standing Rules of the United States Senate and parliamentary procedure. Reconciliation rules state a measure must have a meaningful fiscal impact that isn’t merely incidental” to the policy proposal. Ultimately, MacDonough said that the inclusion of the minimum wage didn’t meet the guidelines for reconciliation. According to her, the minimum wage increase will not create a meaningful budget impact. Consequently, this meant the provision is out of order and cannot be part of the bill.

$15 Federal Minimum Wage

Democrats include a federal $15 an hour minimum wage by 2025 as one of their top priorities. While the party’s majority supports the idea, some moderate Dems raised concerns about the need to shoehorn it into the coronavirus stimulus package. Some senators, like Joe Manchin (D-WV), wanted smaller increases. He said he will push for amending the wage increase to $11 an hour.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) is among those who advocated the raise. “We are deeply disappointed in this decision. 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. The American people deserve it, and we are committed to making it a reality,” he said.

Republicans Hail the Decision

Meanwhile, Republicans hailed the parliamentarian’s recommendation Thursday night.“This decision reinforces reconciliation cannot be used as a vehicle to pass major legislative change by either party on a simple majority vote. This decision will, over time, reinforce the traditions of the Senate,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Graham is the top Republican in the powerful Senate Budget Committee.

In previous years, Republicans amended reconciliation bills to comply with the parliamentarian’s guidance. When GOP lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they ran into problems trying to repeal the individual mandate. This means many individuals need to buy coverage or pay a penalty. After conferring with MacDonough, Republicans altered the bill to leave the mandate but placed the penalty to zero.

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Pressure on Democrats

Now, the pressure is on Democrats on whether to ignore the Parliamentarian’s guidance or amend the bill to confirm. Some progressive Democrats pushed to approve the measure. However, this is an unusual step that both parties want to avoid. “I just don’t think we can go back to voters and say ‘Oh, I’m sorry we promised this to you, we couldn’t do it because the parliamentarian ruled we couldn’t do it.’ Voters expect us to fight for this and get it done,” Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said. In addition, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said that it’s possible for the chair to include it despite the ruling.

Under the chamber’s rules, the Senate presiding officer, Vice President Kamala Harris, can choose to disregard the parliamentarian’s advice. However, this can set a precedent where either party will tend to ignore the parliamentarian in future issues. Already, some Democratic senators said they are uncomfortable with rejecting the parliamentarian’s advice in order to raise the minimum wage. The White House also wants to comply.

Pass a Separate Bill for Minimum Wage

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said they will look into passing separate legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “We will pass a minimum wage bill,” Mrs. Pelosi said Thursday. However, any legislation outside of the reconciliation process needs 60 votes in the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans already went on record saying they find a $15 increase harmful to businesses.

Watch the MSNBC News report where the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that minimum wage increase cannot be included in Covid Relief Bill:

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Do you agree that the minimum wage proposal shouldn’t be part of the COVID relief bill? In addition, do you support the wage adjustment? Tell us what you think by sharing your thoughts in the comment section below.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  • Walker Harris says:

    Throughout the last half century, which everyone fails to look at objectively, the mandating of minimum wage has fueled inflation in a exponentially higher rate. To dumb it down, for every 10% mandated raise, prices have risen 15%, making for less buying power.

  • Ted says:

    The term Minimum wage has been conflated with the term Living Wage which is completely different. Minimum wage hobs are that for a reason- they are NOT expected to provide a living to a person nor a family. They are for starter jobs, part-time jobs ot retirement jobs.

    They lead to LESS jobs for all and higher prices for all goods. It is the OPPOSITE of what it’s backer say.

  • Sharon Seckinger says:

    Maybe later! That stimulus bill is FULL of PORK! Americans are hurting, take care of us First before sending money all over the world! For Gods sakes people are in terrible financial struggles because of the pandemic, their businesses have closed, families are hungry. Open up the country. My children are grown but open up the schools, children can safely return to school! It’s not rocket science. We here in the South have been back in school!

  • Bob says:

    Somehow we have to get the message across to the House and Senate, that if a bill is going to be put together for COVID. Than it needs to be for COVID relief for this Country. Never mind pork barreling the Bill with all sorts of non COVID items. Never mind sending monies overseas as well. This is the American Tax Payers Monies and if you are not going to do your jobs correctly, than I strongly suggest you remove yourself from holding the position of House or Senate for your State. You, frankly don’t belong in the position at all.
    Secondly, let this Country open its doors back up and let the States control their destinies. You, the Government are being a bunch of idiots here.
    And quit, removing our Countries history all over the place. What happened in the past, happened for a reason. Let it be a reminder of where we came from, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it, understand it and accept it.

  • Jeff Taylor says:

    Get all the pork out,, no way should funding for mass transit be in this bill

  • Suzanne Ryan says:

    I don’t approve of the $15 minimum wage increase. It will create more loss of jobs.

  • Ronald T Sawyer says:

    There not listening and they won’t listen. They are going to destroy America. Can’t wait for 2022 and throw these jerks (Dem) out on there butts!

  • Pete Bishop says:

    To followup on Walker Harris’s comment;

    In my 76 years in this vale of tears,
    I’ve detected a link between wages and beers.
    Politicians buy votes, catering to the masses,
    They know what they want, free Doctors and classes.
    The deal of the day has become quite the rage,
    “We don’t make enough,raise the minimum wage.
    If we make twice as much, life will be cool.
    But we didn’t work hard or study in school,
    So of Economics, understanding we lack,
    We’ll just take the word of some political hack.”
    But the life that was promised turns out not so sweet,
    When the costs of the wage hike hit the store down the street,
    The pols demagogue, it’s not their money in fact,
    But the minimum wage is the price of a six pack.

  • Murl says:

    I am a firm believer in having no minimum wage. Then wage will be more competitive.

  • Basil Miles says:

    People can’t afford food and goods now. If thry pass the $15 dollar bill things will even go higher. We DON’T NEED Things to go Higher. No, No, No for $15 dollar Bill.

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