A blow to progressives, the Senate adjudicator said the expedited process to pass signing legislation is preventing wages from rising.
A provision that would raise the minimum wage in the United States amid COVID-19 proposed by President Joe Biden for $ 1.9 trillion relief legislation received a probable fatal blow.
Elizabeth MacDonough, the parliamentarian of the Senate and the non-partisan arbiter of her rules, has determined that a process Democrats are undertaking to speed up passage of the bill by a simple majority in the chamber prevents the measure from being included, who increase the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025, well above the floor of $ 7.25 in place since 2009.
Raising wages has long been a legislative goal among American progressives, but its inclusion in Biden’s legislation had drawn criticism within the party.
The president had campaigned for a strong response to the pandemic, which he said was his administration’s top priority. To date, more than 28 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the United States, with more than 508,000 deaths.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday Biden was “disappointed” with MacDonough’s resolve.
“[Biden] will work with congressional leaders to determine the best way forward because no one in this country should be working full time and living in poverty, ”Psaki said.
The Senate has a long tradition of obeying the decisions of the parliamentarian with few exceptions, a history that is revered by traditionalists like Biden, a 36-year Senate veteran. MacDonough’s decision would also likely give Republicans reason to block the Democrats’ attempt to pass the bill by simple majority if they do not abandon the provision of the legislation.
We totally disagree with the Senate parliamentarian’s advisory decision on the $ 15 minimum wage. White House and Senate leaders can and always should include the $ 15 minimum wage increase in the pandemic relief package.
– Progressive Caucus (@USProgressives) February 26, 2021
Still, some progressives, including Pramila Jayapal, who heads the nearly 100-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, have said Senate Democrats should still include the pay rise in the relief bill.
Jayapal said Thursday that the chamber should not be stopped by “the advisory opinion of parliamentary and republican obstructionism”.
Democrats currently control 50 seats in the 100-member chamber, with Vice President Kamala Harris voting for the tiebreaker, leaving little room for dissent within the party.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday Democrats “will not give up the fight” to raise the minimum wage to $ 15.
The increase could be presented as a stand-alone bill or could be applied to future legislation, but finding the 60 votes needed for its passage should be an almost insurmountable hurdle.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, praised MacDonough’s move, saying it shows the special procedure Democrats are using to protect the relief bill. “Cannot be used as a means to get a major legislative change passed – by either party – on a simple majority vote.”
The parliamentarian’s decision came to light the night before House Democrats were ready to push through an initial version of rescue legislation that still includes the minimum wage hike.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “House Democrats believe the minimum wage hike is necessary. Therefore, this provision will remain. “