• Richard Easson

Biden on Minimum Wage Hike: ‘I Don’t Think it is Going to Survive’

On the campaign trail, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden promised that if sent to the White House he would work to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour. That campaign promise could be yet another one gone.

Stuffed into the coronavirus relief bill worth $1.9 trillion in money we don’t have is the federal minimum wage hike. As Congress negotiates a third round of economic stimulus related to the pandemic, the hike could be dumped.

During a CBS News interview with Norah O’Donnell that aired prior to Sunday night’s Super Bowl, Biden admitted that the proposed wage increase could die during legislative negotiations. Politico reported that the president said, "My guess is it will not be in it…I don't think it is going to survive."

The president cited Senate rules requiring 60 votes to implore cloture on bills and avoid a filibuster.

Biden did insist that even if the current proposal doesn’t pass the Senate, he will continue to work on raising the wage to $15 in the future by either doing it all at once or incrementally.

"I am prepared as president of the United States on a separate negotiation of minimum wage to work my way up from what it is now," he said. "No one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage, and if you're making less than $15 an hour, you're living below the poverty wage."

Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said on CNN’s State of the Union that another way to pass the legislation is through using the budget reconciliation process, which he advocates for. A simple majority of 51 votes would be needed to pass the wage hike.

Sanders told CNN that there’s a “room full of lawyers” working to make sure Biden’s campaign promise is fulfilled. He said, "I can tell you as chairman of the (Senate Budget Committee), we have a room full of lawyers working as hard as we can to make the case to the parliamentarian that, in fact, raising the minimum wage will have significant budget implications and, in fact, should be consistent with reconciliation rules,"

A study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released Monday communicated that increasing the minimum federal wage to $15 an hour by 2025 could bring raises to 27 million Americans and hoist 900,000 Americans above the poverty line but would cause 1.4 million to lose their jobs.