Efforts to increase the federal minimum wage failed once again, as the Senate rejected an attempt to add language that would increase the minimum wage to the massive COVID-relief bill working its way through Congress. On Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered an amendment to the bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. However, the amendment was voted down by a 58 to 42 count.
To pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package without support from Republicans, Democratic lawmakers are applying rarely used budget reconciliation rules to enact the plan. Under these rules, legislation can be passed in the Senate with a simple majority vote, instead of the 60 votes normally needed to avoid a filibuster, but only provisions that “change spending or revenues” can be included in a reconciliation bill. On February 25, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the minimum wage provisions in the COVID-relief bill do not satisfy that standard.
Despite that ruling, the House of Representative included a $15 minimum wage provision in their version of the reconciliation bill. The House passed that bill on February 27. However, because of the Parliamentarian’s ruling, the Senate version of the reconciliation bill currently does not contain language to increase the minimum wage. Sen. Sanders’ amendment would have changed that.
Although they were disappointed in the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling, it didn’t come as a surprise to most Democratic…