Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and 22 progressive Democrats urged President Joe Biden on Monday to overrule the Senate parliamentarian and allow a $15 minimum wage increase to be included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill.
Khanna, the progressive caucus deputy whip, and 22 Democrats sent a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, urging them to overrule Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s decision that a $15 minimum wage increase violates the rules regarding the $1.9 trillion reconciliation coronavirus package.
Democrats hope to pass their partisan coronavirus package by reconciliation, a procedure that allows for the Senate to pass the spending package with only a majority vote. Republicans tried to use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare; however, reconciliation’s rules on spending limited the scope of the degree to which they could try to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Republicans, however, did successfully pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act using reconciliation.
Khanna says Biden should overrule the parliamentarian to help lift millions out of poverty by raising the minimum wage.
He said in a statement Monday:
For four years, Progressives have been negotiating in good faith, putting our bold agenda at the center of the American consciousness in the hopes that our country does indeed share our commitment to building a better future. This ruling is a bridge too far. We’ve been asked, politely but firmly, to compromise on nearly all of our principles & goals. Not this time. If we don’t overrule the Senate parliamentarian, we are condoning poverty wages for millions of Americans. That’s why I’m leading my colleagues in urging the Biden Administration to lean on the clear precedent and overrule this misguided decision. Give America a raise.
Although increasing the minimum wage could raise many out of poverty, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found it could also result in 1.3 million job losses.
The progressives noted that the vice president has “disregarded” the parliamentarian’s ruling in the past. They wrote:
This has significant historical precedent. In 1967, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey disregarded the Parliamentarian’s advice while pushing to reduce the filibuster threshold from two-thirds of those present to three-fifths. Vice President Humphrey did the same again in 1969. Ultimately, Republican Vice President Nelson D. Rockefeller partnered with future Vice President Walter Mondale and succeeded in 1975 while again refuting the parliamentarian.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said in a statement Monday:
Millions of Americans are depending on their elected representatives to do everything possible to deliver them a raise. We are urging Vice President Kamala Harris to use her power as president of the United States Senate to push back against an archaic procedure and overrule the Senate Parliamentarian’s advice on the Byrd Rule. Our residents do not have any more time to wait for us to increase the federal minimum wage. Families are struggling to put food on the table while CEOs make record profit during a pandemic.
She added, “It is time that we show up for those we represent and earn our pay by giving families the raise they deserve.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.