Progressives in the House and Senate are wanting Vice President Kamala Harris to use political power to overrule Senate parliamentarian who stated on Thursday that a minimum wage hike could not be put into the Democrats’ COVID relief legislation if they want to pass it using “reconciliation.”
You know, since this has nothing to do with the coronavirus to begin with, I suggest it not be in the bill either. It’s nothing more than a wish-list item.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), all issued statements Thursday night decrying the decision, which determined that the minimum wage hike is not “budget-related” and cannot be pushed through using “reconciliation” — a parliamentary technique that gives the Senate the ability to pass a “budget-related” bill with a simple majority rather than a filibuster-proof one.
“I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian,” Sanders said in a statement, citing a Congressional Budget Office report that did, indeed, note that the minimum wage increase would have an impact on the federal budget, even though it also mentioned that the hike would cost the American economy an estimated 1.4 million jobs.
“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,” Sanders went on to say. “It is hard for me to understand how drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was considered to be consistent with the Byrd Rule while increasing the minimum wage is not.”
Khanna then suggested that the parliamentarian was an unelected official who was inappropriately using her authority over those who had been elected to office by the will of the people.
“Amazing that American democracy has landed in a place where some unheard of parliamentarian ends up deciding whether or not a law gets passed to give millions a raise. Simple question: are you on the side of structural reform in standing up to this system or for the status quo?” he stated.
“The Constitution gives the Vice President the power to decide whether the $15 minimum wage can pass through reconciliation. The parliamentarian’s opinion is advisory, which VPs have disregarded before. Do not let anyone tell you that we do not have the power to pass $15 wage,” he posted in a tweet that was published late Thursday.
Even the far-left outlet Truthout, though, noted that the “parliamentarian’s advice is typically honored on Capitol Hill,” but they did suggest that Vice President Kamala Harris could issue a ruling of her own, pressing forward with the minimum wage hike and opening the legislation up to a challenge if it were to pass by 51 votes.
“Harris must fight for $15 like she promised on the campaign trail by overturning the Senate parliamentarian,” one progressive activist demanded on social media. “Madam Vice President, there is no next time—fight for $15 NOW. Workers have been striking for $15 and a Union since 2013—it’s way past time for our leaders in Congress and the White House to stand with workers.”
Harris has been quiet as a church mouse about the whole affair, but she’s not likely to depart from the Biden administration’s line concerning the issue, which has been to say that a hike in the minimum wage will have to wait and be part of a completely different bill.