Minimum wage hike runs aground in Senate during Covid aid debate

By | February 26, 2021

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that Democrats would be deemed out of order if they include a $15 minimum wage hike in their coronavirus relief package, a major blow to Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and progressives.

Democrats for weeks have argued that the minimum wage hike could be included in the package through the so-called reconciliation process, citing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that found the boost would increase the deficit by reducing reliance on social services. But Republicans highlight that the same report suggests the increase would result in the loss of 1.4 million jobs and say it’s an extraneous provision.

The parliamentarian’s ruling means that any senator could raise a point order against the minimum wage increase, which would force the provision to be axed from the bill.

House Democrats still plan to pass the minimum wage hike on their version of the Covid bill on Friday, but the Senate decision means the party needs to find an alternative route to increasing the minimum wage, a key campaign promise.