WASHINGTON—Democrats are bracing for an internal battle over raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as they grappled with the political and procedur
WASHINGTON—Democrats are bracing for an internal battle over raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as they grappled with the political and procedural constraints on reaching a long-held goal of the party’s progressive wing.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan proposes to do by 2025, faces opposition from some Democratic lawmakers and parliamentary hurdles. Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote in the 50-50 Senate on the relief package, which also calls for sending many Americans a $1,400 direct check, bolstering federal unemployment aid, and offering funds for vaccine distribution and testing.
At a CNN town hall event on Tuesday, Mr. Biden floated the possibility of raising the minimum wage to $12 or $13 an hour by 2025, rather than $15. “I do support a $15 minimum wage,” Mr. Biden said. “But that’s a debatable issue.”
Press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday Mr. Biden continues to back the $15 wage but noted his aid proposal “included many other components.” She added that the legislation “may not look the same way when it comes out of the sausage-making machine” in Congress.
While many Republicans have assailed the proposed wage increase, arguing that it would hurt small businesses and cost jobs, Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas said Tuesday they would soon introduce their own legislation to raise the minimum wage. The two Republicans said they would pair the gradual wage increase with a requirement that employers verify the immigration status of their employees—likely a nonstarter with Democrats. The pair haven’t yet specified what level they would raise the wage.