Posted by 26 February 2021
Democrats were hoping to use the coronavirus relief bill to enact a $15-per-hour minimum wage. Yesterday, the Senate parliamentarian issued an opinion that erects a major roadblock to their efforts.
Members of Congress are using the budget process to advance another coronavirus relief bill. The budget process allows legislation to move through Congress through reconciliation, which is exempt from the Senate filibuster. Essentially it is a way to pass legislation with only a majority vote. This legislation must concern federal spending, however.
Supporters of an increased federal minimum wage have argued that this policy proposal is indeed related to federal spending and budgetary matters. That has been greeted by skepticism even from some members of the Democratic Party, however. The Senate parliamentarian also disagreed. She ruled that reconciliation could not be used to advance the minimum wage in that body.
House Speaker Pelosi said that she would still include a minimum wage increase in the House's version of COVID relief. When that reaches the Senate, however, the rules will require that it be removed.
This does not end the fight for a higher minimum wage. Some Republicans, such as Senators Josh Hawley and Mitt Romney, support increasing it, although not to $15. Even though a minimum wage bill cannot be advanced via reconciliation, it can be considered under normal Senate rules. For it to pass, however, supporters would need to garner 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.
Do you think that the minimum wage should be increased? If so, should it be increased to $15 or a lower amount?