Senate Parliamentarian Nukes Senate Democrats' Plan to Increase the Minimum Wage

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Posted: Feb 26, 2021 5:30 AM
Senate Parliamentarian Nukes Senate Democrats' Plan to Increase the Minimum Wage

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

This plan was already dead in the water. The minimum wage provision that was attempted to be logrolled into this $1.9 trillion COVID relief effort was already on life support with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) opposing the measure. Manchin said he would favor an $11/hour hike, but Sinema remained opposed. That’s the ballgame. Democrats couldn’t afford to lose a single vote. Well, Ms. Sinema was the silver bullet, so what the Senate Parliamentarian ruled last night was really just icing on the cake. In short, the $15/hour minimum wage is out. It cannot be used in the reconciliation process, which was expected by some since this has nothing to do with the federal budget (via Politico):

The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that President Joe Biden’s minimum wage hike violates arcane budget rules that could jeopardize the rest of his $1.9 trillion relief package, dealing a blow to progressives in a highly anticipated decision that has left much of Washington holding its breath for days.

The ruling, confirmed by three sources — and predicted by Biden himself — has thrust the future of the wage hike into uncertainty. The $15 hourly wage increase that Democrats are seeking could pass only on party-line votes, and they needed the protections of the so-called budget reconciliation process to shield the language from a Republican filibuster.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced shortly after the ruling that the House would plunge ahead with including it in its coronavirus relief bill, which is set for a vote on Friday night.

But Democrats in both chambers acknowledge that the policy will be stripped out in the final version of the bill — a setback for the left wing of the party, which has pushed for the policy for a decade.

Biden has said he would back a separate bill to increase the wage, but that will still face near-universal GOP opposition, along with rolling the dice with how Manchin and Sinema would fall. It’s not just about the process. Jobs are at stake here. Over one million jobs—1.4 million to be exact—would be cannibalized with this wage hike. These are jobs from sectors most heavily impacted by the COVID pandemic. 

Increasing the minimum wage would certainly prevent those jobs from coming back. Those still hanging on for their economic lives could be dealt the same fate regarding termination or working fewer hours. It’s a massive overhead cost to employers. The best is how the Left says that 900,000 would be lifted out of poverty. According to what standard? Making a penny more than the poverty wage fits the government definition of ‘lifted out of poverty.’ These people are still poor and now with fewer job prospects. From Seattle to New York City, we’ve seen minimum wage hikes reduce worker pay, hours, and employment. It’s destroyed the restaurant business in Seattle long before COVID arrived. We have a reprieve, but they’re not letting this go. Biden and his crew made this a promise, and the Left wants it now. Round II will start soon, accompanied by leftist tantrums.