House Democrats are continuing to push for a $15 minimum wage in their coronavirus stimulus package despite it being unclear if the effort will survive Senate consideration.
The provision, which is written in the House and Labor committees’ portion of the bill, would gradually increase the minimum wage over the next four years to $15 an hour in 2025. The last time the minimum wage was increased was in 2007.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report last week stating the minimum wage increase will lead to 1.4 million jobs being cut in 2025. However, the same report said 17 million Americans would see a pay increase as well as another 10 million currently making slightly above the current minimum wage.
“The CBO’s report strengthens the case for gradually raising the minimum wage through the COVID-19 rescue package,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, according to CBS News. “This nonpartisan report shows that increasing the minimum wage will act as a direct and targeted stimulus for struggling workers and their families.”
Recently, Senate Democrats voted to table the minimum wage increase during the pandemic, but through a non-binding agreement that allows them to pick up the effort at a later date. A first draft of the Education and Labor committee part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package includes the increase.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a tweet Monday that budget reconciliation is the only way to pass the increase.
“Let’s be clear. We are never going to get 10 Republicans to increase the minimum wage through ‘regular order.’ The only way to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour now is to pass it with 51 votes through budget reconciliation,” Sanders wrote.
However, not all Democrats are in support of the increase. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) opposes the increase along with Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ). In order to move the bill through using debt reconciliation the bill needs full Democratic support.
Manchin’s position has led to Democrats applying pressure to him as well. Vice President Kamala Harris was interviewed last week on local news stations in Arizona and West Virginia. Manchin, said he was not told by the White House the interviews would take place and viewed it as an operation to make him look bad.
Manchin let the issue go saying “we move on, you can’t dwell on those things,” but the interview and his reaction put a spotlight on Manchin and his (lack of) support.
The issue has put Manchin, a conservative Democrat in a Republican state, in the spotlight on the vote.