On The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst

On The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst
© Greg Nash

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money, where none of us have been immortalized in statue (yet). I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike: Democrats are scrambling to chart a path forward on a top progressive priority after the Senate parliamentarian blocked them from including a $15 minimum wage in a sprawling $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.

What happened last night: The Senate parliamentarian on Thursday ruled against including a boost to the minimum wage in a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, arguing that it runs afoul of budget rules. That means the Democrats would have to scrap it from their relief bill to pass it with only a simple majority.

How lawmakers responded today: 

The Hill’s Niv Elis and Cristina Marcos bring us up to speed here.

In a nutshell: This is an unequivocal setback for Biden and Democrats who supported the $15 minimum wage, though it may make the relief package easier to pass in the Senate. There is a range of ideas circulating among both parties, but it’s unlikely any will make it into the relief bill given how quickly Biden and Democrats want it to be signed.



Personal incomes rise 10 percent in January, inflation remains low: Personal incomes rose 10 percent and inflation remained low in January as another round of coronavirus aid hit U.S. households, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.

  • Consumer spending rose by 2.4 percent and disposable income rose by 11.4 percent in January shortly after former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE and Congress approved a second round of stimulus checks and the renewal of expanded unemployment benefits. 
  • Personal incomes had increased just 0.6 percent in December after two straight months of declines.
  • Americans also saved a whopping 20.5 percent of their disposable income in January, more than twice the pre-pandemic savings rate.
  • Despite the injection of stimulus, inflation as measured by the personal consumption expenditures price index minus food and energy — the Federal Reserve’s preferred metric — was just 1.5 percent in the year since December 2019 and 0.3 percent in January.

What it means: The latest income and inflation data comes as the White House and Fed try to temper fears that further fiscal and monetary economic support could spur rampant price and wage increases as the U.S. nears the end of the pandemic. I break it down here.





  • The Center for Global Development hosts an event entitled “Political Economy of Tax Reforms in Developing Countries” at 10 a.m.


  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing entitled “Wall Street vs. Workers: How the Financial System Hurts Workers and Widens the Racial Wealth Gap” at 10:15 a.m.
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a confirmation hearing on the nominations of Shalanda Young to be deputy OMB director and Jason Miller to be OMB deputy director for management at 10:15 a.m.

NEXT WEEK’S NEWS, NOW: President BidenJoe BidenObama, Clinton reflect on Mondale's legacy Biden, Harris commend Mondale in paving the way for female VP Mondale in last message to staff: 'Joe in the White House certainly helps' MORE’s relief bill heads to the Senate, where we’ll be keeping a close eye on Democratic attempts to pass a minimum wage hike and expand the child tax credit.

We’ll also be on the lookout for news about Neera TandenNeera TandenFive ways an obscure Senate ruling could change Washington 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet White House delays release of budget plan MORE’s Office of Management and Budget nomination, which is all but officially toast. In other confirmation news, we’ll get our first sense of how much bipartisan support Biden’s picks for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Securities and Exchange Commission chiefs will get during their confirmation hearing Tuesday.


  • House Democrats are slightly modifying language in a provision on the child tax credit in their coronavirus relief package, in an effort to prevent the Senate parliamentarian from ruling against the provision.
  • The Treasury Department on Friday rolled out new sanctions against Saudi officials after a government report was released detailing their involvement in the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • The Federal Communications Commission approved guidelines Thursday for a new internet subsidy program that would provide low-income families with funds for their internet bills during the pandemic.


  • Plant-based meat alternative company Beyond Meat on Thursday announced two new multiyear partnerships with McDonald’s and Yum Brands fast-food chains KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. 
  • TikTok has agreed to pay $92 million in a proposed settlement for a lawsuit over allegations that the platform wrongfully collected users' biometric information and private data.