The progressive left is not happy over a Senate parliamentarian ruling that excludes the $15 federal minimum wage from the Democrats’ massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package — just a small fraction of the money dump goes to current pandemic efforts.
Because of the ruling, Democrats cannot employ special budgetary rules that allow them to sidestep the filibuster and Republicans do not support the increase, making a required 60 vote threshold unreachable.
All of which puts increased pressure on Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Not only does the senator oppose the $15 minimum wage, meaning Democrats don’t even have 50 votes here, he also opposed doing away with the filibuster.
Ending the filibuster, which would then require just 51 votes, has been a Democratic pipedream for some time — the left is even claiming the filibuster has racist origins — but Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are not on board here.
Manchin was asked Monday by reporters if he’d ever change his mind on changing the supermajority rule.
“Never!” he shot back.
“Jesus Christ! What don’t you understand about never?” the moderate Democratic senator added.
In what proves to be no surprise, self-avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called on Democrats to “ignore” the parliamentarian’s ruling and shove through the $15 minimum wage, according to The Hill.
“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,” Sanders bemoaned. “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.”
Falling back on the well-worn “crisis” tactic, he added, “Given the enormous crises facing this country and the desperation of working families, we have got to as soon as possible end the filibuster.”
Some are claiming that Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, has final say, not the parliamentarian.
In our democracy, the Vice President as leader of the Senate, or whoever is Chair, has the final say, not the parliamentarian.
Many of my colleagues and I believe we can and must deliver a $15 wage through reconciliation. pic.twitter.com/heBR4DjCEp
— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) March 1, 2021
Though critics say Democrats are famous for making up the rules as they go along, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Majority Whip, wasn’t keen on ignoring the parliamentarian.
“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,” Durbin said, according to The Hill.
White House press secretary Jenn Psaki also stressed that White House chief of staff Ron Klain opposed a vote to overrule.
Fellow socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., joined with Sanders, taking to Twitter to call on the Biden administration to use its “legal authority to overrule the parliamentarian.
“We can’t go home and tell our constituents that the minimum wage will remain a poverty wage because of the decision of an unelected parliamentarian,” AOC added, linking to a list of 22 other House Democrats looking to dictate actions in the upper chamber.
The Biden Administration must use its legal authority to overrule the parliamentarian & allow a vote on raising the minimum wage.
We can’t go home and tell our constituents that the minimum wage will remain a poverty wage because of the decision of an unelected parliamentarian. https://t.co/ToziATFaGL
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) March 1, 2021
Here’s a sampling of other responses to the story from Twitter:
This is important. You only need 41 Democratic Senators to agree to ignore the ruling on roll call and get others on the record opposing the minimum wage. Don’t allow anyone to hide behind this parliamentarian ruling and sink a wildly popular policy. https://t.co/wATS0cxr26
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 2, 2021
What Bernie said. https://t.co/R0Pmu7XGC3
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) March 2, 2021
Imagine if senators were paid the minimum wage. Do you think they’d defer to the parliamentarian?
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) March 1, 2021
Casually break the law to bomb somewhere but god forbid we overrule the senate PARLIAMENTARIAN to take the most basic action for workers. https://t.co/7dA3AMiSzn
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) February 28, 2021
The parliamentarian is literally an aide to the Senate Majority Leader. A senator blaming the parliamentarian for blocking the $15 minimum wage is akin to a British lord blaming his butler for feudalism.
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) March 2, 2021
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