Senate Democrats made their final pitch on Wednesday to the official who will decide whether language to increase the minimum wage can be included in their coronavirus relief bill.
Staffers met with Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough on Wednesday in a culmination of weeks of behind-the-scenes efforts by both parties to sway her as she prepares to make her decision.
"The Senate parliamentarian is hearing arguments today on the $15 minimum wage policy included in the House version of the bill," Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.) said on the floor.
Because Democrats are trying to pass the coronavirus bill through reconciliation — a budget process that allows it to bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster in the Senate — it has to comply with arcane rules that determine what can be included.
Aides indicated after Wednesday's meeting that they had not yet received a ruling, which could come in a matter of hours or slip into Thursday.
The Democratic coronavirus bill currently includes language to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The House is expected to vote on the $1.9 trillion proposal Friday, and the Senate could move as soon as next week.
If MacDonough rules against including minimum wage in the bill, the provision would either need to be stripped out or it would need to get 60 votes in the Senate — an unlikely hurdle given widespread opposition from Republicans for tying the minimum wage hike to coronavirus relief.
Schumer noted that because the Congressional Budget Office says raising the minimum wage would have a "significant budgetary impact" it should be "permissible under the Senate's reconciliation rules."
But Republicans, some congressional Democrats and even President BidenJoe BidenUS threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida US orders families of embassy staff in Ukraine to leave country MORE have appeared skeptical it will make it past the procedural hurdle.
“I put it in, but I don't think it's going to survive,” Biden told CBS News earlier this month, citing Senate rules on reconciliation.