Saturday, 19 June, 2021


Republicans form wall of opposition to Democrats' virus relief package

Democrats push for $15 minimum wage as House set to consider stimulus bill Here’s Why a $15 Minimum Wage Increase Is Important and Why It’s So Hard to Enact
Conrad Doyle | 26 February, 2021, 19:25

The debate over raising the minimum wage is also underway in Washington, D.C., as President Joe Biden has attempted to add a $15-an-hour federal wage increase to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Every provision in the $1.9 trillion bill must comply with budget rules since Democrats are attempting to use the fast-track budget reconciliation process to get the bill passed with a simple majority, the Hill explains.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Democrats instead will propose to strip tax deductions from large corporations who don't pay workers at least $15 an hour.

By Wednesday evening, the most suspense was over a decision anticipated from Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate's nonpartisan arbiter of its rules, that promised enormous political and legislative consequences. If it felt smooth, uneventful or quiet, it's because you are dealing with united government and Democratic members who, despite some individual grumbling about why a provision was included, don't want to spoil this moment for Biden. That's actually the longest that we have not raised the minimum wage since we have had the minimum wage in 1938.

Sen. Ron Wyden of OR, chair of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, also said in a statement: "I'm looking at a tax penalty for mega-corporations that refuse to pay a living wage".

Democrats have said they could still pursue a minimum wage boost in free-standing legislation or attach it to legislation expected later this year that is to be aimed at a massive infrastructure program. That hourly rate would then be increased by $1.75 each year thereafter until it's the same as the standard minimum wage. "I know because we were the first major city in Seattle to raise the minimum wage to 15 [dollars an hour]". Democrats control the 50-50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote and can't lose any of their senators to prevail.

(States can have their own minimum wage, which can be higher than the federal amount, but not lower.) Under the current reconciliation bill, the federal minimum wage would jump to $9.50 per hour starting a few months after the bill is enacted.

Democrats could employ a rarely used procedural move to muscle the minimum wage provision into the bill with just 51 votes anyway, but it was unclear if they could muster enough support to do that.

Now, overall, even if you take the CBO numbers seriously, that means working people as a whole come out far ahead, because the wage gains are substantially greater than any job losses. After that, they would be paid the standard federal minimum wage. "It wouldn't wash at any time, but it especially doesn't wash during this time of crisis", Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday. "It's fair for people to be making what they're producing".

The report said that the wage hike could not be included because it is a "mandate on businesses" as it it now written.

"I think it's going to be included so I don't think we're going to have to make that decision, and I think we're going to have to fight hard for it", she said.

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