Klain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said the administration would not try to overrule the Senate parliamentarian if she decides an increase in the minimum wage must be stripped from a coronavirus relief package.

“Certainly that’s not something we would do. We’re going to honor the rules of the Senate and work within that system to get this bill passed,” Klain said on MSBNC Wednesday. 

The administration is pushing its $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which includes a provision for increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. However, Democrats are anxiously awaiting a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian over whether the minimum wage provision can remain in the bill.

Democrats are trying to pass the package using a process known as budget reconciliation, which would allow the legislation to pass with a simple majority and avoid the legislative filibuster requiring 60 votes. 

However, it remains to be seen if the Senate parliamentarian would decide that the increase jibes with the Byrd Rule, which requires that a piece of legislation has an effect on the federal budget and that it is not “merely incidental” to that effect in order to qualify to pass through reconciliation.

As president of the Senate, Vice President Harris would be able to overturn the parliamentarian if she decides the minimum wage provision must be scrapped. However, Biden, who served in the Senate for 36 years, is a staunch institutionalists who has expressed hesitance to changing the upper chamber’s rules. 

The minimum wage provision has torn open divisions among centrist and progressive lawmakers. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has said he’s confident the minimum wage hike would be included and in the bill pressed senators to come around to the measure. But centrists like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have balked at the increase, raising the prospect that the minimum wage provision could be killed in the 50-50 Senate even if the parliamentarian greenlights it.

Tags Bernie Sanders Joe Manchin Ron Klain

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