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The Politics of the Tug of War over the Minimum Wage

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February 26, 2021 3:55 p.m.

I want to take a moment to unpack the positioning, politics and parliamentary rules behind this confrontation over including the minimum wage hike in the COVID relief bill. It’s quite complicated. And at least some of the advocacy is significantly misleading.

The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that the minimum wage hike doesn’t qualify to include in a reconciliation bill – i.e., one that cannot be filibustered. Parliamentarians can be fired or overruled. But there’s a major hitch. At least two Senators – Manchin and Sinema – say they don’t support overruling the parliamentarian or including the minimum wage in the COVID relief bill. Indeed, neither currently supports hiking the minimum to $15 at all. (There’s some question about that with Sinema. But Manchin is clear and he’s enough.)

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