Congressional Democrats guaranteed they will find a way to increase the minimum wage even if it’s left out of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, declined to make such a promise on Sunday.
“We are going to raise wages. We are going to find a way … it’s just too important not to,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth said last week it will happen before the 2022 midterms.
“How many months do we have left, 20-something months?” said Mr. Yarmuth, Kentucky Democrat. “I’ll guarantee there’ll be a raise in the minimum wage before the election. Hold me to it.”
The Senate parliamentarian ruled last week that increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 would not pass muster under the fast-track budget process Democrats are using to thwart a possible GOP filibuster on the broader relief package.
Senate Democrats have since floated alternatives, like taxing companies that don’t pay their employees a given wage.
Ms. Psaki would not guarantee that President Biden will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the end of his first term.
“He can’t do it on his own, but he is absolutely committed to raising the wage to $15 an hour,” Ms. Psaki said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Even before the parliamentarian’s ruling, Senate Democrats did not have the votes to raise the wage to $15 per hour.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said they did not support including the $15 minimum wage in the $1.9 trillion relief package.
That essentially doomed the item’s prospects in the 50-50 split chamber, with Republicans unified in opposition and opponents saying the wage hike would be a death blow to struggling small businesses.