Congressional Democrats are fighting to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour as part of a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus bill they want to pass in a matter of weeks.
The fight could escalate as soon as Wednesday, the sooner the Senate MP is expected to make a determination on whether the proposal can be included in relief legislation under special budget rules provided for the package.
If allowed, it would be a huge victory for Democrats, but one that would only start a bigger battle within the party over how much to raise the minimum wage and how to structure it. With narrow margins in both houses, Democrats cannot afford to alienate either progressives or moderates.
“Even if it can be included, then the question is, are the Democrats evenly supporting?” said the senator. Tim kaineTimothy (Tim) Michael Kaine Democrats Plan to Crack Rising Drug Costs Overnight Healthcare: Biden Officials Announce Funding to Track Virus Variants | Senate Democrats Unveil Public Option Proposal | White House: No Vaccines Required for Teachers for Schools to Reopen Group of 25 Prominent Nonprofits Urge Congress to Withdraw War Powers MORE (D-Va.), Adding that while he supported it, “there are some other Democrats who have expressed some concerns.”
Neither side is showing sides of caving, setting up a high-risk chicken game that could jeopardize more aid for American schools, states, small businesses and families.
The House is expected to vote on its $ 1.9 trillion package by Friday, modeled after President BidenJoe BidenTikTok users spread the conspiracy that Texas snow was made by the government The problem with a one-size-fits-all federal minimum wage increase Throwing money in Central America will not stop illegal migration MOREproposal. It includes a minimum wage of $ 15 per hour, which would be phased in in 2025.
It’s a level that has powerful supporters, including Biden himself, House progressives, and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Bernie sandersBernie SandersOn The Money: Neera Tanden’s nomination in jeopardy after three no-Republicans | Trump furious after SCOTUS rules on financial records Tanden’s path to confirmation looks increasingly untenable Asia Pacific American Caucus urges senators to confirm Tanden MORE (I-Vt.), Who said they want to make sure the Senate passes the pay increase in its current form as soon as next week.
“Fifteen dollars an hour is not a radical idea, several states have moved in that direction, more than 60 percent of Americans think that is where we should go and that is what I want to do,” Sanders said when asked. about talking about a minor increase.
Supporters of the $ 15 minimum wage point to broad support among Congressional Democrats, arguing that leaders should crack down on Democratic senators who are unwilling to accept the party’s will.
In the 50-50 Senate, if all Republicans vote against the salary increase, Democrats cannot afford any defections.
Supporters also point to Florida, which was a stronghold for former President TrumpDonald TrumpFauci: US Political Divide Over Masks Caused Half a Million COVID-19 Deaths Bishop of Georgia Says State Republican Party Election Bill Is ‘Attempt to Suppress Black Vote’ Trump closer to legal danger after a court ruling on tax returns MORE. State voters approved a ballot measure last year to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.
“The party is ALREADY behind raising the minimum wage to $ 15. So are the American people! Even Republicans agree: Just look at Florida spending $ 15 with a supermajority while voting for Trump. And beyond solid support, it’s just good policy, ”said Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila Jayapal Democrats face unit test in Biden’s .9T bill Progressive caucus chair: I think minimum wage will be included in COVID-19 aid package Sunday programs: COVID-19 dominates as it approaches a shady landmark MORE (D-Wash.), The chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted on Tuesday.
Similar to a budget resolution that prepared the COVID-19 bill, the Senate will need to conduct a branch vote before passing the COVID-19 bill.
That allows any senator to offer potential changes to the bill, and many only need a simple majority to be successful, something that gives additional power to moderates like the senator. Joe manchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Health Care: US Exceeds Half a Million COVID Deaths | House Panel Advances Biden’s .9T COVID-19 Relief Bill | Johnson & Johnson is set to deliver doses to 20 million Americans by the end of March. On the money: Neera Tanden’s nomination in jeopardy after three Republican no’s Trump rages after SCOTUS rules on financial records Tanden’s path to confirmation seems increasingly unsustainable MORE (DW.Va.), who opposes Sanders’ pay increase.
Manchin said that if the minimum wage increase is allowed in the bill, he wants to change the increase from $ 15 an hour to $ 11 an hour.
“If relevant, at a threshold of 51 votes, $ 11 basically works. … We could make $ 11 in two years and be in a better position than they will be in five years with $ 15, ”Manchin said.
Manchin seemed skeptical that there wouldn’t be enough support for the $ 11 minimum wage, but he declined to say how he would vote on the overall package if it is rejected.
Manchin isn’t the only Democratic senator worried about raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, but he has been the most vocal. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Has also spoken out against the idea, and even beyond the amount of the increase, Democrats are privately discussing how to handle tipped wages or possible tax relief for small businesses. .
An independent Sanders bill has the support of an additional 37 Democratic senators, 12 votes less than the simple majority needed to pass the coronavirus bill.
The looming showdown comes as senators are still waiting to hear from Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough about whether a minimum wage increase complies with the Byrd Rule, an arcane procedure that determines what can and cannot be bypassed. reconciliation. Democrats are using the budget process to pass coronavirus relief and be able to bypass 60-vote legislative obstructionism.
Sanders and his staff have been making presentations to MacDonough about why they think it complies and should be included.
But others, including Biden, chairman of the House Budget Committee John yarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthOn The Money: Neera Tanden’s nomination in jeopardy after three no-Republicans | Trump Rages After SCOTUS Rules On Financial Records House Panel Advances Biden’s .9T COVID-19 Aid Bill This Week: House Will Vote On Biden’s .9 Trillion Coronavirus Bill PLUS (D-Ky.) And Democratic senators have been skeptical.
“I put it in, but I don’t think it’s going to survive,” Biden told CBS News earlier this month, citing Senate rules on reconciliation.
That has left some Democratic senators sidestepping the fight to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour until it becomes a real issue, once the MP approves, or not, to approve its inclusion.
Senate Majority Leader Charles schumerChuck Schumer Legislators Propose Bill to Create Capitol Riot Commission The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by AIDS Institute – COVID-19 Bailout Bill A Test of Unity for Democrats NIGHT ENERGY: US Will officially rejoins the Paris climate agreement | Biden’s Energy Department Orders a Radical Overhaul of Trump’s Energy Rules | Texas Power Grid Was ‘Seconds And Minutes’ From Total Failure, Authorities Say MORE (DN.Y.) declined to say whether it would support a minimum wage increase of less than $ 15 an hour.
“Look, the first step is to go before reconciliation, before the parliamentarian. … We will await our judgment before proceeding further, ”Schumer told reporters.
Senator Jon testerJonathan (Jon) Tester Democratic Senate campaign arm draws on new Tester staff leaders to chair defense appropriations panel Trump attorney accuses Democrats of violent rhetoric MORE (D-Mont.), Who is not a co-sponsor of the Sanders bill, questioned the value of intervening until he at least overcome that procedural hurdle.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be there, but once it’s there, we’ll talk about it,” he said. “But until I get there, I don’t think there is any reason to waste energy on it.”
Alexander Bolton contributed.