Democrats can’t include a $ 15 an hour minimum wage in their $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, a Senate official ruled Thursday, derailing for the time being a party priority and increase for millions of Americans.
The impartial Senate MP Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that lawmakers could not include politics in the budget vote, CNBC confirmed. She and her staff heard arguments from Democrats and Republicans as to whether the proposal met strict standards of deficit effects that were required to get it involved in the process.
The reconciliation allows the Senate to pass bills with a simple majority – in this case without Republicans who fear another massive bailout. However, the Democrats faced challenges when it came to getting the pay raise passed, regardless of whether the chamber’s rules allowed it in legislation.
The House Democrats have included the minimum wage of $ 15 an hour in the bailout bill they want to approve on Friday. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said in a statement Thursday that provisions in the aid bill “will remain” as Democrats “are determined to take every possible route to a federal pay rise.”
The decision means the Senate will likely pass a different version of the bill than the House and the officials will have to approve the plan a second time.
A protester participates in a rally held by fast food workers and supporters to celebrate the order from the California Labor Commissioner that the company put workers on February 18 in Los Angeles, California, because of coronavirus protection Disease (COVID-19) went on strike, should be reinstated and compensated. 2021.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
“We are deeply disappointed with this decision,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said in a statement. “We’re 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.”
President Joe Biden was also “disappointed with this result,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a statement.
Senate Budgets Committee chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Said Thursday that “I disagree with the MP’s decision at all”. He added that he would work to add an amendment to the Discharge Act “to remove tax deductions to large, profitable companies that don’t pay workers at least $ 15 an hour and to give small businesses the incentives they can need to raise wages. ” “”
The bill would raise the federal wage floor to the threshold by 2025 and then indicate future inflation hikes. It would lift 900,000 people out of poverty but cost 1.4 million jobs, the Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this month.
The proposal would allow up to 27 million people to get a raise, the CBO said.
Democrats consider raising the minimum wage, which has stood at $ 7.25 an hour since 2009, as a priority while controlling both the Chambers of Congress and the White House. However, with Republicans wondering whether a $ 15 wage floor will hamper small businesses in parts of the country, politics won’t get 60 votes in a 50-50 party-split Senate.
Senate Budget Committee member Lindsey Graham, RS.C., welcomed MacDonough’s decision Thursday.
“The Senate MP was very pleased to decide that an increase in the minimum wage would be an inappropriate change in reconciliation policy. This decision reinforces reconciliation and cannot be used as a means to pass major legislative changes – by both parties – by a simple majority.” he said in a statement.
Republicans used the reconciliation in 2017 to approve tax cuts for businesses and households and to abolish the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican Sens. Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton offered a GOP version of the answer to the minimum wage hike, proposing a plan that would raise the wage floor to $ 10 an hour and restrict the hiring of undocumented immigrants. Arkansas, the state of Cotton, has a minimum wage of $ 11.
Democratic leaders will oppose the framework proposed by Romney and Cotton.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona both opposed a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour. Manchin said he was backing $ 11 an hour instead.
The ruling removes the biggest remaining point of conflict among Senate Democrats trying to pass the bailout package before March 14, when unemployment assistance programs expire.
– CNBC’s Ylan Mui contributed to this report
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