Dems’ Tricky New Two-Step: First COVID Relief, Then a Wage Hike
The parliamentarian’s ruling is a setback for Biden’s agenda. But a minimum-wage increase is still far from dead.
Thursday night, Twitter was full of rage (more than usual) after Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled the minimum wage increase out of the COVID relief bill. There was rage at MacDonough. There was rage at Republicans. There was rage at Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema. And there was some rage at the Biden administration and specifically at Vice President Kamala Harris, who has the power to overrule the parliamentarian. Reversing Harris would require 60 votes, not 51, so she could plausibly do that, but no one really thinks she will.
No question, this is excruciating to watch. The Democrats won elections, emerging with congressional majorities, albeit a bare one in the Senate, and they can’t pass the program they ran on, in part because of a couple of Democrats. Progressives in the House are saying the party just has to deliver on this core promise, and they’re right.
Well, I think there’s a chance, and maybe a good one, that a minimum wage increase isn’t dead yet. But passing one is going to require courage, patience, and compromise. I know compromise is a dirty word. But that’s the legislative process when you didn’t win enough elections to have things the way you want them in our ridiculous system.