Progressives want to overrule Senate parliamentarian over minimum wage increase

Brendan Morrow
·2 min read

The White House says it "respects" the Senate parliamentarian's decision that a $15 per hour minimum wage increase can't be included in Democrats' COVID-19 relief package — but not everyone on the left feels quite the same way.

Some progressives are pushing to overrule Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, who on Thursday ruled the minimum wage increase can't be included in Democrats' coronavirus relief package under budget reconciliation. As Politico writes, some Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in 2017 called on the vice president to "ignore the merely 'advisory' opinions of the parliamentarian and decide for himself what policies were kosher under reconciliation," and some progressives are now pushing for that step.

"The White House and Senate leadership can and should still include the minimum wage increase in the bill," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Congressional Progressive Caucus chair, said. "We can't allow the advisory opinion of the unelected parliamentarian to stand in the way."

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) also told The Washington Post, "The progressive base understands that Vice President Harris can disregard the parliamentarian," adding, "This simply comes down to whether the VP will choose to include the $15 or not." Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), meanwhile, pushed for replacing the Senate parliamentarian, writing, "What's a Democratic majority if we can't pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable." But Politico writes that essentially "everyone to the right of the Squad" is opposed to that move.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain has said that "we're going to honor the rules of the Senate and work within that system to get this bill passed," and on Thursday, the White House said President Biden is "disappointed" in this outcome but "respects the parliamentarian's decision and the Senate's process." Overruling the parliamentarian would be a "long shot," the Post writes, noting that the White House is opposed and that "it's unlikely that all 50 Senate Democrats would stand united on this even if it got on board."

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