Democrats Aren't On The Same Page With The COVID Bill

Biden’s package needs Manchin’s vote to pass via budget reconciliation without Republican support. But the Democrat has indicated he would not approve a minimum wage hike to $15.

“I would amend it to $11,” Manchin said on Feb. 22. “We can do $11 in two years and be in a better position than they’re going to be with $15 in five years.”

It is unclear if a federal minimum wage hike could be approved via the budget reconciliation process. The Senate parliamentarian is expected to rule on the matter before a vote is taken. Manchin said he would propose the $11 amendment if the parliamentarian rules that the hike could be legislated via reconciliation.

According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office (pdf), a hike of the federal minimum wage to $15 would result in the loss of 1.3 million jobs. The office did not study an $11 option but found that an increase to $12 would result in the loss of 300,000 jobs.

The minimum wage hike is part of a gargantuan $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which also includes the first expansion of Obamacare in a decade and a refundable child tax credit that would amount to a monthly cash payment to families who do not owe taxes. According to the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget, nearly half of the stimulus package has been diverted to issues unrelated to the pandemic of the CCP (Chinese Community Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has also expressed concern about the $15 minimum wage.

“The minimum wage provision is not appropriate for the reconciliation process. It is not a budget item. And it shouldn’t be in there,” Sinema told Politico on Feb. 12.

One-third of small-business owners indicated they would likely lay off workers if the minimum wage rises to $15 an hour, according to a recent survey by CNBC-SurveyMonkey.

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