Joe Biden: Minimum wage increase unlikely to ‘survive’ in $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package


President Biden said in an interview that aired Friday he thinks Congress will have to jettison the minimum wage hike he included in his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

“I don’t think it’s going to survive,” Mr. Biden told CBS News, citing U.S. Senate rules.

Mr. Biden had proposed more than doubling the federal minimum wage by increasing it to $15 per hour.

He said he’ll still fight for an increase as part of a separate bill and that it wouldn’t have to be a one-shot hike from $7.25 to $15.

“All the economics show if you do that, the whole economy rises,” the president said. “I am prepared, as president of the United States on a separate negotiation on minimum wage, to work my way up from what it is now.”

Republicans have rejected the proposal, saying increasing the minimum wage would cost jobs and hurt struggling small businesses.

By voice vote, the Senate approved a non-binding amendment during debate over the 2021 budget resolution that says the federal minimum wage should not be increased during a global pandemic.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders, Vermont Independent, said he believes a fast-track budget tool Democrats are using to thwart a filibuster on the package would allow for a minimum wage hike.

“Nobody is talking about doubling the federal minimum wage during the pandemic,” Mr. Sanders said during floor debate on the amendment. “My legislation gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period and that is what I believe we have got to do.”

Mr. Biden is apparently siding with other budget and Senate process experts who say a minimum wage hike would be subject to the 60-vote filibuster threshold, likely dooming the effort in a 50-50 split chamber.

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