House Progressive Leader: Senate Dems Should Overrule Parliamentarian  to Raise Minimum Wage

House Progressive Leader: Senate Dems Should Overrule Parliamentarian to Raise Minimum Wage


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Senate Democrats should overrule Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s decision that legislation to raise the federal minimum wage cannot be included as planned as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, according to a chorus from the left.

The ruling from the parliamentarian was necessary because Senate Democrats want the COVID relief package considered under a Senate procedure known as “budget reconciliation,” in which all components of the package must be germane to the federal budget. The benefit of a bill under reconciliation is that it cannot be filibustered by the minority party.

However, it is within the power of the majority Democrats to overrule the parliamentarian, which is a tactic that is gaining support among many on the progressive flank of the Democratic Party.

Despite rhetoric from Democratic congressional leaders that they could try for a free-standing wage-increase bill separately, such a bill would be subject to a Republican filibuster and likely die before a final vote.

Progressive commentators are pressing Democrats to overrule the parliamentarian — but so are some congressional Democrats.

They see the increase to a $15 minimum wage as a central promise Democrats made in last year’s elections.

The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 per hour, and hasn’t been raised since 2009.

On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) stated that if the Senate parliamentarian votes that a minimum wage increase cannot be passed via budget reconciliation, Senate Democrats should vote to overrule the parliamentarian.

Host Rachel Maddow asked Jayapal if she thinks “Democrats in the Senate should use their 50 votes and potentially the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Harris, I guess, to overrule the parliamentarian if she says, no, this can’t be in reconciliation. Do you think they should go that far?”

Jayapal responded, “I personally do. And I’ll tell you, it’s because either — I mean, Democrats made a promise to people across this country, that we were going to raise the minimum wage, that we were going to put money in peoples’ pockets.”

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