Raising the federal minimum wage through budget reconciliation would be 'a stretch,' House Budget Chairman says

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Ayelet Sheffey
·2 min read
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Biden Rescue Plan Speech
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  • House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth said that using budget reconciliation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is likely to encounter Senate rule restrictions.

  • Raising the federal mininum wage has been met with mixed reviews from Democrats and Republicans who disagree on the effects it will have on the economy, making the provision highly partisan.

  • Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, signaled he would be open to the idea of reconciliation to promptly address the pandemic.

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth said on Monday that raising the federal minimum wage within President Joe Biden's stimulus proposal by using budget reconciliation is unlikely to pass through the Senate.

Biden's $2 trillion relief package is currently under negotiation in Congress. Given its partisan nature, Democrats have started to eye reconciliation as a way to pass the package with a simple majority vote, rather than requiring the support of 60 senators.

However, Biden's plan includes a provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and Yarmuth told CNN that the provision could come to a halt under the Senate's Byrd rule, which restricts the use of reconciliation. That means raising the minimum wage through that method is unlikely.

"To be very candid with you, I think that's a stretch," Yarmuth said.

But the decision is ultimately made by the parliamentarian, the Kentucky Democrat said, so Democrats could potentially see success in passing the provision.

Since it was announced in the president's stimulus proposal, raising the federal minimum wage has been met with mixed reviews. Conservatives argue the raise will cost jobs and hurt the labor market, while progressives argue the opposite.

But Biden remains steadfast in his support of raising the wage to help American workers, and his advisors have even suggested openness to the prospect of reconciliation, so the provision passing remains a viable possibility.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC on Tuesday that solving the pandemic needs to be addressed "comprehensively," meaning that reconciliation is not ruled out.

He said: "We're very open to people's input, ideas, that's the process that's happening right now, but we do need to move with speed here, so we don't find ourselves, a month or two or three from now, in a place where the virus is in isn't getting under control, the economy is in a worse place, and we're all asking ourselves why we didn't act."

Read the original article on Business Insider