Senate Ruling Says $15 Minimum Wage Must Be Dropped from $1.9 Trillion Stimulus

Mandatory Credit: Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11650752g)Independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders walks from the Senate floor during votes on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 20 December 2020.

One of the Democrats’ biggest hurdles in advancing President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, failed to go through the Senate last night.

See: The GOP Wants a $10 Minimum Wage – How Does It Compare to $15 in the Real World?
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In a statement last night, Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi said that “the ruling from the Senate parliamentarian is disappointing, because raising the minimum wage would give 27 million Americans a well-deserved raise and pull nearly one million Americans out of poverty in the middle of a once-in-a-century devastating pandemic and economic crisis.”

She added that Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary. 

“Therefore, this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the Floor tomorrow. Democrats in the House are determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight For 15. Tomorrow, when we pass the American Rescue Plan, the American people will know that Help Is On The Way.”

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Find: Democrat Joe Manchin Says He’s Against a $15 Minimum Wage – Is It Good or Bad for American Workers?

While Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget, is a fierce proponent of the raise, other democrats, including Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, oppose it.

Following the vote last night, Sanders said he strongly disagreed with the decision by the Senate parliamentarian.

“The CBO made it absolutely clear that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour had a substantial budgetary impact and should be allowed under reconciliation,” he said in a statement.

See: Who’s Actually Working for Minimum Wage?
Find: $15 Minimum Wage Would Reduce Poverty, but at What Cost?

Indeed, a report from the Congressional Budget Office notes that raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would affect 17 million workers directly and reduce the number of people in poverty by 0.9 million. However, employment would be reduced by 1.4 million workers, or 0.9%, according to the CBO report.

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Sanders added that 60% of the American people want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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Find: Will Biden’s Stimulus Get Republican Votes?

“The House of Representatives has voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The President of the United States wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I’m confident that we have a majority in the United States Senate including the Vice President that would vote to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Yet because of the archaic and undemocratic rules of the Senate we are unable to move forward to end starvation wages in this country and raise the income of 32 million struggling Americans. That fight continues,” he said in the statement.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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