Biden’s coronavirus relief plan included a provision that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has been leading the charge to move it forward in the Senate through the so-called reconciliation process, which essentially allows Democrats to pass a broader coronavirus relief package without GOP support.
Sanders and his allies argue that the higher wage would reduce the amount of federal assistance low-income individuals receive and increase their taxable income — meeting the Senate parliamentarian’s requirement that any reconciliation measure have an effect on the federal budget.
Now that the Senate passed a budget resolution early Friday, it can begin to consider whether the $15 minimum wage qualifies for reconciliation. But even if the parliamentarian approved the measure, it could run into resistance from Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who opposes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
During Thursday’s “vote-a-rama” leading up to the final vote on the budget resolution, the Senate approved by voice vote an amendment from Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) that would ban a $15 minimum wage hike during the pandemic.
Biden told CBS that he would continue to push to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“I am prepared as president of the United States on a separate negotiation of minimum wage to work my way up from what it is now,” he said. “No one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage, and if you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage.”