Democrats can’t include a $15 minimum wage hike as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a key Senate official ruled on Thursday.
Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s decision dealt a blow to progressives, who had been pushing to include such a provision in the bill.
MacDonough, the nonpartisan arbiter of Senate rules, issued a guidance saying she didn’t believe the change complied with guidelines of reconciliation, the fast-track process that Dems are using to pass the bill.
Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, who previously said he was optimistic that MacDonough would back the provision, slammed the finding on Thursday night.
“I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian,” the Vermont lawmaker said in a statement.
“The fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour continues,” he added.
Republicans, meanwhile, hailed the decision.
“Very pleased the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a minimum wage increase is an inappropriate policy change in reconciliation,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.
“This decision will, over time, reinforce the traditions of the Senate.”
Some moderate Democrats, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have voiced opposition to including the minimum wage boost in the relief bill.
That suggests Dems would lack the votes to push through the provision, should they opt to break decades of Senate precedent, ignore the parliamentarian’s view, and keep it in the bill.
With Post wires