Senate experts rule wage hike can’t be included in epidemic relief case

A candlelight vigil and moment of silence is held at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 23, 2021. To commemorate the more than 500,000 Americans who have died as a result of the Communist China virus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Senate parliamentarians ruled Thursday (Feb. 25) that a $15-an-hour minimum wage cannot be included in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic bailout proposed by Democrats.

The controversial proposal in the House bill seeks to gradually increase the federal minimum wage, with a goal of raising it to $15 by 2025. The rate has been at $7.25 per hour since 2009.

According to multiple reports, Senate Chief Legislative Counsel Elizabeth MacDonough (D-CA) has ruled that the minimum wage increase cannot be included in the budget reconciliation process.

MacDonough and her team heard bipartisan arguments under the Byrd Rule, which determines whether a provision is eligible for inclusion in the reconciliation process. She decided that a minimum wage increase did not meet the criteria for inclusion in the reconciliation process.

Democrats in the House and Senate tried to pass a budget resolution earlier this month to start the budget reconciliation process to fast-track Biden‘s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which would allow the bill to pass with just a majority vote, without having to reach the 60-vote threshold to avoid Republican delays in the proceedings.

If the budget reconciliation process is initiated, the debate will be limited to 20 hours and no “filibuster” will be allowed.

Note: The filibuster is also known as a filibuster, which is a pun on the word “filibuster”. The filibuster is a way for minority members to speak at length to block a bill from being passed by the majority party that is unpopular.

The decision by Senate statute experts shows that any minimum wage increase cannot be passed with a simple majority in the Senate and requires bipartisan support.

“President Biden is disappointed with the outcome because he proposed a $15 minimum wage as part of the ‘American Rescue Plan.'” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“He respects the decisions of regulatory experts and the Senate process. He will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should be working full Time and living in poverty,” Psaki said, “and he will urge Congress to move quickly to pass the ‘American Rescue Plan,’ which includes a $1,400 bailout check for most Americans. people with a $1,400 bailout check, funding to contain this virus, assistance to reopen schools and much-needed help for those hardest hit by this crisis.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement, according to Reuters, “We are deeply disappointed by this decision.”

He said, “We will not abandon our efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 to help millions of struggling American workers and their families. This is what the American people deserve, and we are committed to making it happen.”

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) welcomed the decision on Twitter, writing, “Very pleased that Senate statute experts ruled that the minimum wage increase does not apply to the budget reconciliation process. This decision reinforces that the reconciliation process cannot be used by either party as a vehicle to pass major legislative changes with a simple majority vote. Over time, this decision will reinforce the Senate’s tradition.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pushed for the addition of a wage provision to the bill Thursday morning.

“We will pass a minimum wage bill,” she said. She also said that Democrats have been “working on this for years” and that a wage increase is “long overdue.