WH: Biden ‘Disappointed’ By Senate Official’s Roadblock To $15 Minimum Wage Increase

President Joe Biden speaks about lives lost to COVID-19 after death toll passed 500,000, in the Cross Hall of the White House on February 22, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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February 26, 2021 9:00 a.m.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday night that President Joe Biden was let down by a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian that jeopardized the chances of including his proposed minimum wage increase from $7.25 per hour to $15 in the COVID-19 relief package.

Biden “is disappointed in this outcome” but “respects the parliamentarian’s decision and the Senate’s process,” Psaki said in a statement.

“He will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should work full time and live in poverty,” she continued.

Earlier on Thursday, Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that the minimum wage increase in the bill, which Democrats are working to pass through budget reconciliation to bypass the filibuster, violated the Byrd Rule, a restriction against including items in a reconciliation bill that do not directly affect the budget.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted the ruling and declared that Democrats “are not going to give up the fight” on boosting the minimum wage, though he did not indicate how they would move forward on the effort.

Democratic senators could try to overrule MacDonough, but they are unlikely to be successful given that conservative Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has said he is opposed to increasing the wage to $15 an hour, proposing instead a more modest increase of $11 an hour.

Additionally, White House has rejected the notion of overruling the parliamentarian.

“Certainly that’s not something we would do. We’re going to honor the rules of the Senate and work within that system to get this bill passed,” Chief of Staff Ron Klain told MSBNC on Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Thursday that the House’s relief bill would still include the $15 minimum wage hike regardless.

“Democrats in the House are determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight for 15,” she said in a statement.

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