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Parliamentarian's Decision Dooms Minimum Wage Hike

Senate official says it breaks budget rules
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2021 12:03 AM CST

(Newser) – Looks like the coronavirus relief bill will not include a minimum wage hike. The Senate parliamentarian on Thursday ruled against the inclusion, saying it goes against budget rules. 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. But Nancy Pelosi says the House will leave the $15 minimum wage item in the bill when it votes Friday, despite the fact that it will almost certainly be removed from the Senate bill. The only way it wouldn't would involve Vice President Kamala Harris basically eschewing the parliamentarian's ruling, which the White House said it does not support; Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin also says he wouldn't support bypassing budget rules.

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"What are we supposed to tell voters in 2 years before the midterms? Sorry, we couldn’t pass the $15 minimum wage that we promised you because the Senate parliamentarian advised against it?" Rep. Pramila Jayapal tweeted. "Two-thirds of voters want this done. Time to deliver." As the Week reports, Bernie Sanders quickly unveiled his "plan B," saying he's working on an amendment he wants included in the bill that will eliminate tax deductions for "large, profitable corporations that don't pay workers at least $15 an hour" and also give smaller businesses incentives to increase wages. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, similarly, said he's "looking at a tax penalty for mega-corporations that refuse to pay a living wage." Sources tell CNN the minimum wage hike's removal will likely make it easier for the Senate to pass the bill, as Democrats can avoid infighting over its inclusion—moderates like Manchin are not in favor. (Read more minimum wage stories.)

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