Democrats may have fallen short in their bid to attach a massive minimum wage hike to the recent $1.9 trillion COVID-19 “relief” bill dubbed the American Rescue Plan, but that doesn’t mean they’re done trying to figure out a way to achieve that progressive goal.
According to Business Insider, a number of elected Democratic lawmakers and labor union leaders joined together for a conference call this past week to discuss how to make the dream of a $15-per-hour nationwide minimum wage a reality.
The strategy session was reportedly deemed necessary after the Senate parliamentarian ruled in late February that a minimum wage increase did not fit within the narrow parameters of the budget reconciliation process that Democrats used to bypass the fact that they had no Republican support for the massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief “deal.”
An uphill battle in the Senate
According to Just the News, one of the participants in the call was Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI). “Just two days ago, some of us had a great meeting at the White House about this subject,” he reportedly said. “I’m convinced that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and their entire administration has committed to getting this done as well, and are putting their full efforts to doing this.”
The Wisconsin congressman went on: “We will get at least 50 votes in the Senate and we will find a way to finally do what Congress has been negligent to ask for too long; whether it’s adding it to a must-pass bill or pushing it around those arcane Senate rules or some other measure, America will get the raise that is long overdue that we are committed to.”
Just the News noted that those on the call made clear that they hoped to see a $15 minimum wage extended to all workers nationwide, even those who also receive tips in addition to wages, like restaurant workers.
The Democrats and union leaders also reportedly dismissed legitimate concerns from small business owners that such a wage hike would be unaffordable, with some even insinuating that those business owners were lying or exaggerating.
Others simply suggested that the federal government could step in to subsidize the increased labor costs.
Sneaking the measure past the GOP
The call was reportedly arranged by progressive Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who afterward took to Twitter to share some of the potential tactics that his party could pursue in the House and Senate to ensure the minimum wage increase is included in upcoming “must-pass” legislation.
In a multi-tweet thread, Khanna broke down options including another reconciliation bill — despite the parliamentarian’s prior ruling — and sticking the provision in the next defense spending or appropriations package.
He even raised the prospect of abolishing the Senate’s filibuster — and its 60-vote threshold — so that the measure could be rammed through the evenly-split upper chamber with a simple majority: all 50 Democrats, plus Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaker.
If Democrats truly were interested in bipartisanship and finding common ground and unity, all of these suggestions would be cast aside as too divisive. But Democrats aren’t actually interested in any of that. As usual, it’s their way or the highway.