President Joe Biden just took another major loss in his quest to ratify a $15 federal minimum wage hike after it was determined that Senate rules do not allow Democrats to force the measure through using the budget reconciliation process.
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, the non-partisan referee of the upper chamber, found that raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 cannot be forced through the back door as Senate Democrats were hoping, likely crushing the plan once and for all.
Biden and his Democrat supporters in Congress took the opportunity presented by his latest COVID-19 relief bill to attempt to force through a minimum wage raise, a longtime liberal objective.
Due to the likely devastating economic impact of forcing a massive wage increase in the midst of an already-economically devastating pandemic caused the GOP and some moderate Democrats to balk at the notion.
Since the bill could not garner bipartisan support, Democrats turned to the rarely-used budget reconciliation process which would allow passage of the bill with a simple majority instead of requiring bipartisan agreement.
However, MacDonough’s declaration on Thursday night may have ended that option — though Democrats are already fighting back.
Leftists are raging
Leftists immediately cried foul, with some even calling for the Biden administration to overrule MacDonough’s decision immediately after its announcement.
The 94-member Congressional Progressive Caucus immediately released a statement declaring that “we cannot allow the advisory opinion of an unelected parliamentarian and Republican obstructionism stop us from delivering on our promise to voters. Workers are counting on us to #FightFor15 and finally #RaiseTheWage for millions.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Progressive Caucus, added that she “strongly disagrees” with the decision and that “The White House and Senate leadership can and should still include the minimum wage increase in the bill.”
“We simply cannot go back … to the voters who delivered us the White House and the Senate majority and tell them that an unelected parliamentarian advised us – based on arcane rules – that we could not raise the minimum wage as we promised,” Jayapal concluded.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he is “deeply disappointed” in the decision, adding that “We are not going to give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 to help millions of struggling American workers and their families. The American people deserve it, and we are committed to making it a reality.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, who also presides as President of the Senate, has the power to overturn the declaration, though White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated that the executive branch will not step in to reverse it. “[Biden] respects the parliamentarian’s decision and the Senate’s process,” Psaki said.