Durbin Rejects Leftist Calls to Override Senate Parliamentarian on Covid Relief Bill Minimum Wage Hike

Sen. Dick Durbin on CNN, 9/11/2019
(Screenshot/CNN)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) overruled calls from progressive democrats on Monday to override the Senate’s parliamentarian and include a minimum wage hike in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Durbin said Democrats should instead look for another piece of legislation to use as a vehicle for trying to increase the minimum wage. “I don’t think that’s going to work. I hope that we think very seriously about dealing with the minimum wage in a different venue,” he said.

Durbin’s decision to support the parliamentarian over the loudest part of the Democrat Party is the lastest sign $15 minimum wage hike will not be included in President Joe Biden’s Coronavirus package, which only allocates nine percent of the bill’s expenditure towards Coronavirus vaccinations.

House progressives and outside groups have urged Democrats to put Harris in the chair presiding over the Senate and ignore advice from the parliamentarian.

“Eighty-one million people cast their ballots to elect you on a platform that called for a $15 minimum wage,” the progressives wrote in a letter to Biden and Harris that was spearheaded by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“We urge you to keep that promise and call on the Presiding Officer of the Senate to refute the Senate Parliamentarian’s advice … and maintain the $15 minimum wage provision in the American Rescue Plan.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answered the progressives’ demand, “The decision for the vice president to vote to overrule or to take a step to overrule is not a simple decision. It would also require 50 votes… and the president and the vice president both respect the history of the Senate. They both formerly served in the Senate, and that’s not an action we intend to take.”

Durbin acknowledged that not having the minimum wage provision in the bill makes passing it “less complicated,” but reiterated that he thought the decision was “disappointing.”

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