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Senate Denies $15 Minimum Wage in COVID-19 Relief Package

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has crushed Democrats’ hopes for an increase in the minimum wage. Senate sources report that MacDonough’s decision was short and to the point. According to her, the budgetary impact of the increase was “merely incidental” to its non-budgetary impact, a status which would be in violation of the Byrd Rule – a regulation that asserts what is and isn’t allowed under reconciliation.

Increasing Minimum Wage Will Lead to a $54 Billion Deficit 

The Congressional Budget Office calculated that the change would increase the deficit by $54 billion over ten years. The chairman of the Budget Committee Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is also the strongest advocate of a $15 minimum wage, argued that the wage increase wouldn’t necessarily have a substantial deficit reduction impact.

Sanders requested a report from CBO, which compared the minimum wage increase’s budgetary impact to that of a couple of items in Republicans’ 2017 tax cut bill. According to the report, the minimum wage increase’s budgetary impact was more substantial than others.

Despite the defeat, Democrats expressed their intentions to continue fighting for a wage increase. “We are not going to give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 to help millions of struggling American workers and their families,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Sanders announced that he would pursue a Plan B, moving forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour.

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