In a recent White House meeting, President Biden reportedly acknowledged his $15 minimum wage hike is likely to go nowhere. The admission came as the president met with governors and mayors in an effort to push the administration's Covid-19 relief package.
Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion dollar relief package includes a federal minimum wage hike to $15 an hour by the year 2025, but Democrats can't afford to lose a single vote in the deadlocked Senate.
"I really want this in there but it just doesn't look like we can do it because of reconciliation," Biden said at the Feb 12. meeting, according to a Politico report citing sources in the room. "I’m not going to give up. But right now, we have to prepare for this not making it."
"Doesn’t look like we can do it," Biden conceded.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would kill jobs, hurt low-skilled workers, and ramp up inflation. This is supposed to be a relief package, not a pain package.
But while acknowledging the short-term reality, a spokesperson for the administration said the president remains committed to a $15 minimum wage.
"President Biden has been consistent in private and public about his commitment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is why he included it in his first major piece of legislation," said White House spokesman Mike Gwin, as reported by Politico. "That commitment will remain unshaken whether or not this can be done through reconciliation."
House Democrats are gearing up to push the president's relief package through to a full vote by next week. Along with the proposed wage hike, the package includes a round of $1400 stimulus checks and an expansion of the child tax credit. Speaker Pelosi has said she expects the bill to arrive on Biden's desk before jobless benefits expire in mid-March.