The House of Representatives budget head warns that the wage increase could make it harder to pass the Biden bailout
An idea to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 7.25 could make it harder to pass a filibuster-proof bailout with President Joe Biden’s economic recovery proposals, warned John Yarmuth, chairman of the House of Representatives.
To circumvent a deadlock in the Senate – known as the Byrd Rule – consideration has been given to taxing companies that do not pay higher wages, rather than a direct increase, as Congress has done in the past. Several experts consider a simple increase to be ruled out.
“I think that’s a very clever idea. It could only be a political problem for some of our members. It could meet Byrd’s rule, but it could lose votes, ”Yarmuth said in a phone interview with MarketWatch on Wednesday.
The minimum wage hike, which Congress has not increased since 2007, was part of Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus economic aid plan announced on Jan. 14.
The Democrats hope to pack many of these provisions into a legislative package that is immune to the Senate filibuster and that will be passed through a process called budget reconciliation by mid-March. But in order to vote on this law of reconciliation, the House of Representatives and the Senate must first pass a budget dissolution. Both the budget and the later spin-off law would only require 51 votes for the Senate’s approval.
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Yarmuth said he expected the resolution to be in the House and Senate next week and, at least in the House, would pass smoothly. It will not go through his committee that has not yet held its organizational meeting, he said. Both houses would pass the same resolution with wildcard budget targets, avoiding the need for a lengthy conference committee to work out differences.
Yarmuth said he agrees with the need to raise the minimum wage, but worries that insisting could force Senate Democrats to choose between him or the Senate MP, an act that would be viewed by Republicans as the killing of the filibuster.
“I am in favor of abolishing the filibuster. I’m in the ‘do what it takes’ camp, so to speak, ”he said. “But I don’t think that’s one of the top priorities in terms of urgency at the moment.”
Democrats will have another chance to raise the minimum wage in a second budget decision and reconciliation cycle later this year, he said.
“We’re going to get another chance at reconciliation in a couple of months, and so we have another opportunity to do this, and the most important thing is not getting out and finishing now,” he said, citing money for the distribution of Vaccines. state and local government aid extending expanded unemployment benefits and direct payments as competing needs.
While the budgetary decisions do not include the specific guidelines that will be included in the later reconciliation laws – they only instruct the committees to draft laws to meet certain budgetary goals – Yarmuth was confident that the items other than the minimum wage would be safe procedural and pro not violate the Byrd rule, which governs what can be included.
“I don’t think either of them has a problem,” he said.
The two-household reconciliation process, two this year, mirrors what was seen in January 2017, when Republicans passed a similar “shell” budget to make way for an ultimately unsuccessful attempt, the Affordable Care Act and later to set aside a second budget for tax cuts.
The Democrats at the time criticized the passage of two budgets in a year that hadn’t happened before, and Yarmuth said the Republicans had “been rammed by their so-called budget, which was designed solely to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the proposed one Parenthood through a simple majority in the Senate. “
Yarmuth said Wednesday Democrats weren’t hypocritical by using the same playbook this year, in part because much of Biden’s economic package was backed by both parties.
“These topics have been discussed for almost a year, all the things we have to do now. Nobody disagrees with the vaccination situation. Trump was even good with the $ 2,000 (payments to individuals) and (Missouri Senator) Josh Hawley and a few others. So I think there is bipartisan support for most elements, ”he said.