The push to incorporate a $15 minimal wage within the COVID-19 reduction invoice is formally lifeless, with an modification to include the proposal within the closing bundle set to fail on the Senate flooring Friday.
The modification was put ahead by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of many greatest champions of the $15 minimal wage in Congress.
“Here is the simple truth, that is in the richest country in the world we can no longer tolerate millions of our workers being unable to feed their families because they are working for starvation wages,” Sanders mentioned on the Senate flooring on Friday. “When we look at the economy, people look at the stock market, they look at a lot of indices out there. But at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves what is going on in the lives of ordinary people and it is not acceptable to me that half our people are living paycheck to paycheck.”
The modification finally died on procedural grounds within the Senate, with Republicans claiming the modification didn’t adjust to guidelines round budgetary laws.
Seven Democrats ― Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), who has been vocal in his opposition to the $15 minimal wage; Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.); Chris Coons (Del.); Tom Carper (Del.); Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.); Maggie Hassan (N.H.); and Jon Tester (Mont.) ― in addition to one impartial, Sen. Angus King (Maine), voted with the Republicans on this procedural matter.
The vote remained open for greater than 10 hours on Friday as Democratic senators scrambled to shore up votes for a separate vote on unemployment insurance coverage.
Sanders’ proposal would have given an estimated 27 million employees raises over the subsequent 4 years and pulled greater than 1,000,000 out of poverty, based on current estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
The present federal minimal wage is $7.25 an hour, which has not been elevated in additional than a decade. Sanders’ modification would even have eradicated the tipped minimal age, which permits employers to pay a decrease base wage so long as the employees obtain gratuities. The tipped minimal wage is presently $2.13 per hour.
“A country that aspires to be pro-work should not be this anti-worker,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who chairs the Senate Finance Committee mentioned in help of the modification.
The battle to incorporate a minimal wage enhance within the $1.9 trillion emergency reduction invoice had been doomed for weeks.
Democrats are passing this COVID-19 reduction bundle alongside celebration traces via a legislative maneuver referred to as price range reconciliation. Budget reconciliation payments will be handed with a easy majority however have their limitations ― specifically, their provisions should have a direct and important affect on federal spending and income.
The Senate’s chief procedural skilled, the parliamentarian, mentioned the minimal wage proposal wouldn’t have a direct sufficient affect on the federal price range, ruling that the estimated $54 billion enhance within the deficit was simply “incidental” to the coverage. Vice President Kamala Harris, the Senate’s presiding officer, had the ability to overrule that willpower, however the White House determined to just accept the parliamentarian’s place ― and thus the minimal wage enhance was struck from the ultimate bundle.
On Friday, it was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) who dealt the ultimate blow to the push for a $15 minimal wage, forcing a vote to rule Sanders’ proposal out of order with Senate guidelines.
“I think the parliamentarian was dead wrong,” Sanders mentioned on the Senate flooring. “It is an absurd process that we allow an unelected staffer, someone who works for the Senate, not elected by anybody, to make a decision as to whether 30 million Americans get a pay raise or not. I don’t care how the parliamentarian rules ― no parliamentarian should have that power.”
Passing a $15 minimal wage was at all times going to be an uphill battle. Manchin and Sinema got here out towards the proposal, and the procedural vote signifies that there may be extra, albeit quiet, opposition. Manchin has mentioned he helps a extra slim enhance to $11 an hour over the subsequent two years.
Democrats have very restricted choices to boost the minimal wage within the months forward. There’s been speak of taxing firms that don’t pay their employees a $15 minimal wage, in addition to tax credit for smaller companies — although that effort has largely been placed on the again burner for now.
Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Tom Cotton (Arkansas) unveiled their conservative counterproposal to boost the minimal wage to $10 an hour over a five-year interval, tied to a mandate that companies use E-Verify to crack down on the hiring of undocumented employees.
If Democrats negotiate with Republicans on the problem, that’s the place they’ll be beginning.
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