The $ 15 minimum wage is in trouble. Here’s what you need to know

On February 18, 2021, a rally was held on February 18, 2021 celebrating the California commissioner’s order to reinstate and compensate workers who went on strike over coronavirus protection.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

The battle for a minimum wage of $ 15 just hit a major hurdle.

On Thursday, Senate impartial MP Elizabeth MacDonough said lawmakers could not include the $ 15 minimum wage in legislation to be passed by budget vote, calling for its inclusion in the $ 1.9 trillion Stimulus plan that runs through Congress.

The MP’s decision comes as the House prepares to pass the final round of coronavirus stimulus and send it to the Senate. It was cheered by Republicans who opposed a federal minimum wage hike and Democratic use of budget balancing.

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“I am delighted that the Senate MP has decided that an increase in the minimum wage constitutes an inappropriate policy change in reconciliation,” said Lindsey Graham, RS.C., member of the Senate Budget Committee, on Thursday. “This decision strengthens the reconciliation. It cannot be used as a means to pass major legislative changes – by both parties – by simple majority.”

Even so, the Democrats remain determined to include this. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said Thursday that Democrats will maintain the $ 15 minimum wage hike in the current bill and are determined to take any avenue to a raise.

“The Senate MP’s decision does not affect the House and should not force the House to throw in the towel on such a critical issue,” said Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and chairman of the House’s Education and Labor Committee, in an explanation. “I am firmly convinced that the House should send the Senate an aid package with the minimum wage regulation and enable the Senate to overcome the procedural hurdles.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., also said efforts to raise the federal minimum wage will continue.

“We are deeply disappointed with this decision,” he said on Thursday. “We will not 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.”

What happens next

Democrats have a few possible options for the future. They could take the policy out of the stimulus package they are planning for a reconciliation or rewrite the provision so that it can be incorporated into the laws that will be passed through the accelerated process.

It is also possible that Vice President Kamala Harris, as President of the Senate, could override the MP’s decision. So far, however, it seems unlikely that she will take this option. Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, said Friday that Harris will not weigh on the MP’s decision.

“The President and Vice-President both respect Parliament’s decision and the process,” he said on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Even if Harris were to outvote the MP, passing the stimulus package through a budget vote would require the unanimous support of Senate Democrats and a tie for the Vice President.

Working people shouldn’t have to keep their fingers crossed for their employers to do the right thing by raising their minimum wages.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and Joe Manchin from West Virginia have announced that they will not support a minimum wage of $ 15 but will support a minimum wage of $ 11.

That means Democrats will likely try to rewrite the provision to win more votes and keep an increased minimum wage in the stimulus package.

Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Chairman of the Senate Budgets Committee, said he disagreed with the MP’s decision but would advance the fight for a $ 15 minimum wage.

He said Thursday that he would work on “a change to avoid tax deductions for large, profitable companies that don’t pay workers at least $ 15 an hour and to give small businesses the incentives they need to raise wages.” need.” This amendment will be included in the latest discharge bill, he said.

Who Would Benefit from a Minimum Wage of $ 15?

A rise in the federal minimum wage would increase the pay of around 27 million workers, many of whom were on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. According to studies, it would also lift nearly 1 million people out of poverty.

A majority of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage – a Reuters and Ipsos poll published Thursday found that nearly 60% were in favor of raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025. That plan is currently included in the House’s most recent coronavirus relief bill.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Also tweeted to support the minimum wage hike. “Working people shouldn’t have to cross their fingers for their employers to do the right thing by raising their minimum wages,” she said. “It has to be the law of the land.”

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