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Bernie Sanders is 'confident' that the $15 minimum wage will remain in COVID-19 relief package

Published by Business Insider on Sun, 21 Feb 2021

<p><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5fd7ba8ee00bce00188bb425-2400/bernie-sanders-stimulus-checks.jpg" border="0" alt="bernie sanders stimulus checks" data-mce-source="Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Saturday expressed confidence that the proposed minimum wage hike to $15 per hour will remain in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that congressional Democrats are aiming to pass through the budget reconciliation process.</p><p>President Joe Biden <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/president-biden-reiterates-his-support-for-a-15-minimum-wage-2021-2">supports</a> the minimum wage hike but has <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/18/biden-governors-minimum-wage-469898">expressed doubt</a> that it would be permissible under reconciliation rules. But, Sanders, the independent chairman of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, thinks the measure will pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian.</p><p>"Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is not 'incidental' to the federal budget and is permissible under the rules of reconciliation," <a href="https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/1363186997196652544">Sanders said in a statement to CNN</a>. "The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] has found that the $15 minimum wage has a much greater impact on the federal budget than opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and repealing the individual mandate penaltiestwo provisions that the parliamentarian advised did not violate the Byrd Rule when Republicans controlled the Senate."</p><p>He added: "I'm confident that the parliamentarian will advise next week that we can raise the minimum wage through the reconciliation process."</p><p><a href="https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2021-02/57003--SenatorSanders-Letter.pdf">The CBO has ruled</a> that the <a href="https://edlabor.house.gov/imo/media/doc/2021-01-26%20Raise%20the%20Wage%20Act%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf">Raise the Wage Act of 2021</a> would have a substantial impact on the budget, which might meet the threshold of the Byrd Rule and be passed through the reconciliation process.</p><p>Sanders has insisted that reconciliationwhich would rely on all 50 Democratic senators supporting the legislationis the way to make the minimum wage increase happen.</p><p>"It's gonna be in reconciliation if I have anything to say about itit's the only way we're gonna get it passed," <a href="https://twitter.com/josephzeballos/status/1361475801699536896">he told</a> Insider's Joseph Zeballos-Roig&nbsp;earlier this month.</p><p>But even if the parliamentarian rules in Sanders' favor, he'll still face resistance from moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.</p><p>Manchin <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/536977-machin-says-he-doesnt-support-raising-minimum-wage-to-15-per-hour">told The Hill</a> earlier this month that he could support raising the minimum wage to $11 an hour, which he said was "responsible and reasonable."</p><p>"The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process," <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/12/kyrsten-sinema-democrats-468768">Sinema told Politico</a> last week. "It is not a budget item. And it shouldn't be in there."</p><p>The federal minimum wage, at $7.25 per hour, <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/history/chart" data-analytics-module="body_link" data-analytics-post-depth="80" data-uri="9e492bc83b97e2f694809f469fa1c213">has been unchanged</a>&nbsp;since July 2009.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/sanders-minimum-wage-coronavirus-relief-package-reconciliation-2021-2#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/economist-weighted-voting-could-help-save-us-democracy-2018-5">A top economist explains how weighted voting could change democracy</a></p>
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