Senate Parliamentarian Rules $15 Minimum Wage Increase Will Not be in Relief Bill

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled on Thursday that the coronavirus relief bill cannot include the federal minimum wage hike because it does not fit the rules that govern budget bills.

The decision is disappointing for progressives in the party, but removes the confrontation for Democratic leaders who are trying to pass the overall $1.9 trillion relief bill.

In a statement, the White House said President Biden, who proposed the $15 minimum wage as part of his American Rescue Plan, is “disappointed” but that he “urges Congress to move quickly to pass” the relief. It also said he will work with leaders in Congress to determine the “best path forward.”

Senate Majority Leader Schumer expressed his disappointment, saying, “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. The American people deserve it, and we are committed to making it a reality.”

Not everyone was ready to accept the decision.

According to the Washington Post, parliamentarians are the official referees of the Senate who ensure the lawmakers follow the rules to move legislation forward.

Parliamentarians often serve through multiple presidencies, and only six people have served in the role since it was instituted in 1935. Elizabeth MacDonough is the current parliamentarian, the first woman in the position, and an independent. She has had the job since 2012 when she was appointed by a Democrat.