Top Senate Official Disqualifies Minimum Wage From Stimulus Plan


Republicans applauded her ruling.

“This decision reinforces reconciliation cannot be used as a vehicle to pass major legislative change — by either party — on a simple majority vote,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Budget Committee. “This decision will, over time, reinforce the traditions of the Senate.”

While the majority typically follows advice from the parliamentarian, Democrats could also try to overrule her guidance, effectively insisting on including the wage increase in the legislation anyway, or try to rewrite the provision in a way that adheres to the Senate rules. In 2001, the parliamentarian at the time, Robert B. Dove, was unceremoniously ousted from his position after Republican leaders found fault with his rulings.

But top White House officials, including Ron Klain, the chief of staff, have publicly said that Vice President Kamala Harris, in her role as president of the Senate, would not vote to overrule Ms. MacDonough. Ms. MacDonough, the first woman to hold the post, has retained both the position and bipartisan respect under the leadership of both parties since she was named in 2012.

Some Democrats groused privately on Thursday night that Mr. Klain’s comments in a televised interview on Wednesday, combined with Mr. Biden’s public admission this month that he did not think the wage increase would survive, gave Ms. MacDonough the “permission structure” to essentially kill the proposal, according to one Democratic aide who described their thinking on the condition of anonymity.

It was not clear whether Democrats could have mustered a majority for overruling the parliamentarian. Liberal Democrats, who have been already been mounting calls for the abolition of the 60-vote threshold, seethed over the procedural defeat and called for Ms. Harris to intervene to change the decision.

“I’m sorry—an unelected parliamentarian does not get to deprive 32 million Americans the raise they deserve,” Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, wrote on Twitter. “This is an advisory, not a ruling. VP Harris needs to disregard and rule a $15 minimum wage in order. We were elected to deliver for the people. It’s time we do our job.”

Some Republicans have come out in support of legislation that would gradually raise the minimum wage to $10, instead of $15.



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