As Senate Democrats try to fit a $15 minimum wage hike into the $1.9 trillion dollar COVID relief package, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized some Democrats for not supporting Progressive’s demand for the measure.
Saying that opponents of the minimum wage increase were “living in a dystopian capitalist nightmare,” AOC took it a step further on MSNBC.
She stated that, “when you take the minimum wage from several decades ago and you actually account for inflation and productivity gains to today, it should really be $24 an hour.”
She went on to say that Democrats must understand “how deep of a compromise $15 an hour is,” including a multi-year phase in.
“It is deeply, deeply shameful that we are even having this conversation. When you take the minimum wage from several decades ago and account for inflation and productivity gains, it should be $24 an hour.” ~ @AOC @RepAOC pic.twitter.com/BUa7P1TPAS
— 🌈 (@MagicZoetrope) March 2, 2021
Some Democrats Trying To Bypass Rules
While AOC claims that the minimum wage should be $24 an hour, Senate Democrats cannot seem to pass a $15 an hour wage hike, a central point in President Joe Biden’s campaign.
House Democrats tried to stuff a $15 an hour minimum wage hike into the recent COVID-19 relief package. However, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough declared the wage hike was “not compliant with budget reconciliation rules.”
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Of course, when Democrats don’t like a rule, they want to change it. This has led to a call to either overriding the Parliamentarian, which has historical precedent, or firing her altogether.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) stated Democrats should “ignore” the Parliamentarian. He said he would force a vote on the matter this week.
“My personal view is that the idea that we have a Senate staffer, a high-ranking staffer, deciding whether 30 million Americans get a pay raise or not is nonsensical. We have got to make that decision, not a staffer who’s unelected, so my own view is that we should ignore the rulings, the decision of the parliamentarian.”
Several House members, including Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and far-left ‘Squad’ members like Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Cori Bush (D-MO), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), sent a letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris urging them to override the Parliamentarian.
A portion of the letter read, “Eighty-one million people cast their ballots to elect you on a platform that called for a $15 an hour minimum wage.”
Senate majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was not in favor of overriding MacDonough. “I don’t think that’s going to work. I hope that we think very seriously about dealing with the minimum wage in a different venue.”
From the pool. Dem MN Rep Omar on Senate parliamentarian nixing minimum wage in COVID bill. Is asked if Dems should fire the parliamentarian. Omar: I certainly do think that there should be either an override or replacement..this needs to get done. There are no more excuses
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) February 26, 2021
Democrats Are In A Pickle
Democrats seem to have found them selves in a quandary. It remains to be seen whether of not Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s job will be one Democrats care to save. Their other option is to end the filibuster.
Their problem is that they do not have the votes to pass the $15 wage hike or end the filibuster using the “nuclear option.” Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have both stated they are opposed to doing away with the filibuster.
Manchin was asked again on Monday about his stance on the filibuster. Manchin has apparently been asked about changing his mind on the issue, because when asked he yelled, “Never! Jesus Christ what don’t you understand about never?”
It may be that other Democrats might want to put pressure on Manchin and Sinema to be able to take some kind of action while they have a majority in the Senate.
— jlee (@bunnydear) February 26, 2021
Every option needs to be on the table to pass a $15 minimum wage, whether it's overruling an unelected parliamentarian or ending the filibuster.
We told people we would deliver. 27 million workers are waiting for us to deliver. And now we must deliver. https://t.co/8USGTDanyH
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) February 26, 2021
Outside Groups See Inaction From Democrats
House members who wrote the letter to Biden and Harris are right about one thing. Millions of people voted for Joe Biden because he touted a $15 an hour wage hike on the campaign trail. Their base may be getting uneasy because they see inaction.
The Executive Director of a group called “Our Revolution,” Joseph Geevarghese says, “The Democratic Party, they should do what ever in their power they need to do to deliver on this. It’s a signature promise. It should be full-bore ahead. if there is a will there’s a way to get this done.”
Geevarghese says that if the Democrats abandon the wage hike, “they do so at their peril.”
Nina Turner, who is running for an open Ohio House seat, said progressive Democrats have no plans to discontinue opposing the filibuster. “The people who were hired to do the people’s bidding are going to have to get the courage to do away with it. A breaking point is coming. I just don’t know the what or the when.”
When our constituents ask why we didn't pass a $15/hr wage, despite promising it for years, despite it being overwhelmingly popular with Americans of both parties, an excuse about a parliamentarian is not going to cut it. It doesn't pay the bills.
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) March 1, 2021
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