$15 minimum wage all but dead in big COVID relief bill – Florence, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina 2021-03-02 07:11:34 –

Washington (AP) — Democrats wanted to include a minimum wage increase in the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 bailout bill, as the Senate was preparing to discuss its own version of the Housepass aid package. It seemed almost dead on Monday.

Four days after Congressmen said parliamentarians said Senate rules prohibited the inclusion of a direct minimum wage increase in bailouts, Democrats ran out of the most viable options to quickly bail out wage increases. It was like. In one decision, they abandoned potential amendments that threatened tax increases for large companies that did not raise workers’ wages to a certain level.

“At this point, there may be no way, but I hope we can find one,” said Richard Durbin, second leader of the Illinois Senate Democratic Party.

Senate Democrats are hoping to announce a wide range of relief package versions and start discussions as early as Wednesday. Parliamentary leaders want to send President Joe Biden a bill to fight the pandemic and strengthen the economy by March 14, when parliamentarians approve emergency unemployment benefits in December. ..

The overall bailout bill was Biden’s first legislative priority.It is approaching as follows First test of his ability Uniting Democrats in the Senate — the party doesn’t have enough votes — and risks lasting damage to his influence if he fails. Republicans strongly oppose legislation It could be unanimously opposed, as Congressman Republicans did when they approved the bill early Saturday.

The bill will provide individuals with $ 1,400, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars for schools and universities, COVID-19 vaccines and tests, mass transit systems, renters, and small businesses. There is also support for states that are willing to extend the coverage of money for childcare, tax deductions for families with children, and Medicaid for low-income residents.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, Vermont, said he wants the Democratic Party to ignore the legislator’s decision to block the increase in the minimum wage. He also wants to vote for them to eliminate filibuster — a procedural delay that requires 60 unattainable votes for the Democrats to win.

Neither idea seemed to be endorsed by the Democrats and the White House needed to succeed. However, Sanders, the lead sponsor of the Senate’s increase to $ 15, said he would force a vote on an amendment to revive the minimum wage increase anyway.

“This is the soul of the Democratic Party,” he said of the proposal. Recognizing that his efforts may be inadequate, he says, “If we fail this law, I’ll be back,” and will provide it in the near future.

The Senate is divided 50-50 among political parties where Vice President Kamala Harris can only cast tiebreaker votes. Democrats have adopted procedures that are rarely used in the COVID-19 Relief Bill, which protects measures from filibuster.

Biden discussed the bailout bill at a virtual meeting with nine senator Democrats, including Joe Manchin, West Virginia, on Monday. This is the opponent of the $ 15 / hour goal. The White House statement said the group “united with the goal of swiftly passing through important packages that reflect the scope of the challenges facing our country.”

Democrats, who need unanimous consent to pass the bill, are calling for some changes to the House bill.

Manchin told reporters that he hopes the House’s emergency unemployment allowance, set at $ 400 a week, will be returned to the current $ 300 enacted in December. It is divisive and certain to elicit strong opposition from progressives.

He and Senator John Tester (D-Mont.) Also said they wanted to make spending more “targeted” and that Manchin meant “helping those in need”. .. Republicans say legislation is too expensive and unnecessarily spends money.

Senator Angus King of Maine said he has set a minimum of $ 350 billion in bills for state and local governments and probably wants $ 50 billion to improve broadband coverage. ..

Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said on Monday that parliamentarians helped some struggling pension schemes and provided billions to help unemployed people pay health insurance. It has been decided that some Senate approval clauses can remain on the bill. -ore.

The House-approved minimum wage wording will gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 per hour by 2025, more than double the $ 7.25 since 2009.

Sanders and Weiden said they are working on a tax increase plan for large corporations that do not meet certain levels of worker wages after parliamentarians have stated that the clause needs to be removed.

But the plan was withdrawn, Democrats said Monday, Sanders said the proposal would have been too easy for employers to avoid. It has always been questionable whether companies pressured by tax increases have gained enough Democratic support to survive, and that idea would have affected only a small proportion of the workers who paid the minimum wage. ..

The increase in the minimum wage has gained widespread support among Democrats. However, while enthusiastically accepted by the party’s progressives, at least two Senate moderates (Manchin and Kyrsten Cinema in Arizona) have opposed including it in broader bailouts. However, it hurt the outlook within the party and encouraged tension.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut has to decide how the Democratic Party “does the minimum wage as part of another law or on its own.”

Eliminating filibuster and overthrowing parliamentarians have strong support among progressives, but the idea lacks appeal to moderates. They are wary of erasing procedures that the party has used in the past and may use them again to protect their priorities in the case of minorities.

Among those who have long supported maintaining filibuster is Biden, who has worked in the Senate for nearly 40 years.

“The president’s view of filibuster is well known. He hasn’t changed his view,” White House spokesman Jen Psaki said on Monday.

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