Democrats suffered a critical defeat in their bid to preserve President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday after the Senate’s top rule enforcer said a plan to increase the federal minimum wage could not advance as part of it, effectively knocking out a crucial piece of his plan backed by progressives.
Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, told senators and staff that the provision, which would gradually increase the wage to $15 an hour by 2025, violated the strict budgetary rules that limit what can be included in the package, two aides said on Thursday. The aides disclosed the ruling on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on it.
The House is expected to vote on the $1.9 trillion package as early as Friday, with the wage increase included, and it was not clear whether the decision would alter their plans. But it gave Republicans grounds to jettison the provision when the Senate considers the stimulus measure shortly after under a fast-track process known as budget reconciliation, which shields it from a filibuster, allowing it to pass without Republican support.
The problem here is not the parliamentarian, whose ruling is probably correct on the merits. The problem is that the filibusterer is idiotic and Senate majorities should be able to pass any bills they want.