February 26, 2021

Mika Brzezinski talked to Jake Sherman about the blow to plans to get a minimum wage increase in the reconciliation process.

"A ruling in the Senate dealt a severe blow to Democrats who are pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour in the next covid-19 relief package. Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth McDonough, nonpartisan arbitrator, issued guidance saying she didn't think the effort complied with guidelines of reconciliation, the fast track process that Democrats are using to go pass the bill. Despite the parliamentarian's decision, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers in the House would not remove the provision before the vote, which is set for later today. Jake Sherman, what does this all mean?" she asked.

Sherman replied, "It means there won't be a $15 minimum wage in the immediate future. It means -- Nancy Pelosi's move is smart on her behalf, she has a caucus full of progressives who want to see this policy and do not care that the Senate doesn't want to pass it, they want to pass it and vote on it. It's very popular in the Democratic caucus. It has almost unanimous support. Number one. Number two, as we pointed this out in Punchbowl News this morning, I think it seeps its way into literally every legislative debate from here on out. This is -- the way Democrats see it, a widely and broadly popular provision. The minimum wage hasn't been raised in some time. they will try to find ways to do it."

"It will lend credence to 'blow up the filibuster,' something that caught on on the left. It doesn't have the votes at the moment. Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema are against blowing up the filibuster, but let's be clear, if there were no filibuster, Democrats could tomorrow raise the minimum wage to $11, $12, something in that range. This is not the end of the story. It's just the beginning. For the broader covid package, what does this mean?

"Joe Biden wants to pass a $2 trillion bill by March 14th. That is just a couple weeks away. A very, very steep hill to climb. They're going to have to move quickly. They're going to have to move efficiently. Now that the $15 minimum wage is out, will they be able to pass this through the Senate? I think yes. To be determined, though. Now Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema have very few chances to vote against this.

"It's clear that President Biden suspected that the $15 minimum wage want going to be in this package. If they peel this off as a separate piece of legislation, you started to answer the question. But even with that, Republicans don't like a lot of the other stuff that's in the 1.9 trillion package. So how do they push this through? Do they get Manchin and Sinema on board just without the minimum wage and finally before that 14th deadline and get this money out to people?" Willie Geist asked.

"That's exactly what they do, Willie. They move the package without the $15 minimum wage. Frankly, I think on the minimum wage provision, it is certainly possible to pass an increase of the minimum wage with Republican support. I just don't think it will be at $15. Nancy Pelosi remembered yesterday, I think this is when you were in Congress, Joe. The minimum wage was increased in 2001, in early 2001. And George Bush signed it. It got support on Capitol Hill from both parties," Sherman said.

"I do think it's possible to get this done. I don't think it's possible to do it at $15. Yes, Willie, the covid package will likely pass and it will be almost strictly on a partisan basis. Important to remember every package in the Trump administration tasked with bipartisan support. now in the Biden administration, no bipartisan support. Down the road, a compromised minimum wage package could be in play. Not exactly sure how they will get that done. Perhaps it will happen in a later jobs package or even as a stand alone.

"I have to imagine Nancy Pelosi will move a minimum wage package as a stand-alone in the coming months."


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