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Progressive caucus chair: I think $15 minimum wage will be included in COVID-19 aid package

Progressive caucus chair: I think $15 minimum wage will be included in COVID-19 aid package
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Democrats snipe on policy, GOP brawls over Trump House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade MORE (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Sunday that she believes the Senate parliamentarian will allow a provision that would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour to remain in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package.

Jayapal told CNN's Dana BashDana BashKhashoggi fiancée: Not punishing Saudi crown prince would be 'stain on our humanity' Senate Democrat: Saudi relationship being 'recalibrated' Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE on "State of the Union" that she was in regular conversations with both Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Top Republican: 'Outrageous' to extend National Guard deployment at Capitol Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent Ron Johnson forces reading of 628-page Senate coronavirus relief bill on floor GOP pulling out all the stops to delay COVID-19 package MORE (I-Vt.), the Senate Budget Committee chairman, about whether the provision would be struck from the relief package under rules governing what can be passed through the budget reconciliation process, which would allow Democrats to pass the bill through the Senate without GOP support.

"I have been speaking with Sen. Sanders pretty regularly, with Speaker Pelosi, with the White House," Jayapal said. "If Republicans could give a $2 trillion tax break to the wealthiest people and stop Arctic drilling, then — or continue drilling in the Arctic — then I think that Democrats can make sure that 30 million Americans get a raise [through the reconciliation process]."

When asked if she would still vote for the $1.9 trillion package if the provision to raise the minimum wage was struck from the proposal, Jayapal responded, "I think it's going to be included, so I don't think we're going to have to make that decision."

Her remarks are the latest sign that progressives plan to battle with more centrist members of their party, including Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Progressives won't oppose bill over limits on stimulus checks Senate votes to take up COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), over the minimum wage issue. The White House has indicated it does not believe the provision will be included in the final COVID-19 relief bill due to parliamentary rules. It was included in the package unveiled by the House last week, and if it survives the Senate parliamentarian's ruling, it could set up a battle within the Democratic caucus to secure the votes to pass the package without any Republican votes in the Senate.

Along with the minimum wage provision, the bill also would issue another round of direct payments to singe Americans making up to $75,000 per year and married couples making up to $150,000 per year, extend unemployment benefits, and provide billions in aid to state and local governments for COVID-19 management efforts.