President Joe Biden privately told governors and mayors last week that the $15-an-hour minimum wage hike in his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 wouldn’t likely make it into the final bill.
On Thursday night, Politico reported new details about the meeting, which took place in the Oval Office last Friday, and included state and city leaders from both parties includng New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland’s GOP Gov. Larry Hogan.
‘I really want this in there but it just doesn’t look like we can do it because of reconciliation,’ Biden told the group. ‘I’m not going to give up. But right now, we have to prepare for this not making it.’
Last Friday, President Joe Biden held a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors. Politico reported Thursday night that Biden told them that they needed to prepare for the $15-an-hour minimum wage hike not to make it into the final COVID-19 relief bill
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which includes Sen. Bernie Sanders (left) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (right), has been pushing Biden to have Vice President Kamala Harris overrule the Senate parliamentarian in order to get the $15 hike through
Without an obvious 10 Republican votes for the package in the U.S. Senate, Biden and his Capitol Hill allies are planning to get the huge COVID-19 relief package through the Senate by using the process of reconciliation, which allows for just a majority vote.
Otherwise, the bill would be susceptible to the filibuster – and need 60 votes to get over the hump.
Biden’s comments indicate he believes the nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian will rule that a minimum wage hike cannot be included in a bill passed through reconciliation.
Progressives have encouraged Biden to play hardball, however, and have Vice President Kamala Harris – the tie-breaking vote in the Senate – overrule the parliamentarian.
In the meeting, Politico reported, Biden seemed more keen to get Republicans on board than to please the progressive wing of his party like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Sanders was tweeting Thursday about the minimum wage, blasting the family who owns Wal-Mart, the Waltons, for not giving their workers $15 an hour.
‘It is a moral outrage that the wealthiest family in America, the Walton family, still refuses to pay workers at Walmart at least $15 an hour. Over the past 3 years, the Walton family became $84 billion richer, while Walmart’s minimum wage has remained stuck at $11,’ Sanders wrote. ‘Unacceptable.’
During the meeting, Biden listened as Hogan, a Republican who’s been critical of former President Donald Trump, said that he didn’t believe raising the minimum wage would directly help the economic pain caused by the pandemic, Politico said.
Hogan urged Biden to get Republicans on board.
‘I really need your help on this,’ Biden said. ‘It needs to be bipartisan.’
Biden was also asked about the minimum wage increase when he faced voters’ questions Tuesday night in Milwaukee at the CNN town hall.
The president was asked about the $15 plan by a small business owner who fretted about paying employees that much money when the cost of living in the midwest is lower than other parts of the country.
At his Tuesday night CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Biden answered a question about the minimum wage hike from a small business owner who was worried about paying $15-an-hour to employees when the cost of living in the midwest is lower than other parts of the country
‘South is not much different than the midwest in that regard,’ Biden pointed out.
The president explained that the way to do it, is to do it gradually over several years.
‘But it’s totally legitimate for small business owners to be concerned about that changes,’ he admitted.
He was applauded when he said, ‘Where it’s $7.25 an hour, no one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty.’
That’s the current federal minimum wage.
‘I do support a $15 minimum wage. I think there is equally if not more evidence to dictate that it would grow the economy in the long run and medium run, benefit small businesses as well as large businesses and would not have such a dilatory effect, but that’s a debatable issue,’ he told the audience.