Pelosi says the $ 15 minimum wage will be included in the bill the house sends to the Senate. Here’s what you need to know
The US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attends a press conference in Washington on the third day of the impeachment proceedings against former US President Donald Trump on February 11, 2021.
Erin Scott | Reuters
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that a minimum wage of $ 15 will be included in the coronavirus aid package her chamber plans to prepare for the Senate.
“We are very proud of that,” she told reporters during a weekly press conference. “As I said earlier, 27 million people will receive a raise, 70% of them women.”
Confirmation that the $ 15 minimum wage will be included in the latest version of the $ 1.9 trillion law comes just days after the Senate reached a non-binding agreement to ban minimum wage increases during the pandemic voted.
Still, House Democrats have pushed for the wage increase to be retained in their version of President Joe Biden’s US bailout, arguing that raising wages for millions of workers is important to US economic recovery. The Democrats are preparing to run the plan through an expedited process called budget balancing that does not require Republican support.
What happens next?
Pelosi said the house plans to approve the aid package in the next two weeks to send to the Senate where it will pass its final test.
In order to be eligible for a budget vote in the Senate, the legislation must have a direct impact on the federal budget. While some studies have shown that a hike in the minimum wage would do this, it is still unclear whether Senate MP, Attorney Elizabeth MacDonough, will approve the Democratic bill. (The MP is the Senate’s advisor in interpreting its rules and procedures, according to Senate.gov.)
Democrats are doing what they can to ensure that the wage increase is included in the reconciliation.
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“We are trying to work as best we can with the MP to reach a minimum wage,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, DN.Y., said in a briefing Tuesday. On Sunday, Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator from Vermont, said in an interview with CNN that a room full of lawyers was working to resolve the case.
If the MP says the $ 15 minimum wage hike cannot be factored into the reconciliation, Vice President Kamala Harris could override her advice. Then the bill could be passed with the support of 50 Democrats and Harris, who cast the casting vote.
“Before we get to what the Vice President is going to do, I have to get through the MP and then I have to get 50 votes to raise that minimum wage to $ 15 an hour,” Sanders said on Sunday. “I’m working as hard as I can to make this happen.”
When will workers see bigger paychecks?
Of course, it is still unclear whether the Democrats can include the higher minimum wage in the reconciliation and pass it unanimously. Currently, Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, is opposed to an hourly increase to $ 15 but has announced he will be helping a lesser amount.
Still, Democrats are working to get the coronavirus aid package passed by early March. So if a minimum wage of $ 15 was included in the final bill, workers could potentially see an increase later this year.
The bill wouldn’t increase the pay to $ 15 an hour, however, as it’s currently at $ 7.25 overnight.
The first jump would raise the federal minimum wage to $ 9.50 per hour and the so-called dumped wage to $ 4.95 per hour in 2021, according to the latest version of the wage increase law.
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