Progressive Caucus Secures Inclusion of $15 Minimum Wage in Pandemic Relief Package

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, comprised of nearly 100 U.S. House Of Representative members and 0ne U.S. Senator, has secured the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage in the House pandemic relief reconciliation package.

Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal worked closely with Education & Labor Chairman Bobby Scott and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have it included.

“In the midst of a deadly pandemic, millions of American workers are risking their lives for poverty wages that haven’t been raised in over a decade. It’s long past time for Congress to right this wrong and enact a minimum wage that allows families to live with dignity,” Jaypal said.

“The Progressive Caucus has long identified the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage as a top priority for this pandemic relief package. Today, we’re pleased to announce that, after working with Democratic leadership, we have secured the inclusion of this critical provision in the budget reconciliation package to raise wages for an estimated 27 million low-wage workers and lift nearly 1 million people out of poverty.”

“The CPC thanks Chairman Scott, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Sanders for working diligently with us to get this done. In the richest nation on Earth, there’s no excuse to pay workers a poverty wage – every job has dignity and every worker deserves a livable wage.”

A report released Monday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 could add tens of billions of dollars to the federal budget deficit, but that could actually help Democrats pass an increase.

The CBO report said raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would increase net revenue and boost spending on programs such as Medicaid and Medicare while decreasing others’ cost, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Because of the budget implications, the report supports the argument that it could be included in any legislation passed via Senate budget reconciliation.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, fully supports using reconciliation to pass an increased federal minimum wage.

In a statement, he said, “The CBO has demonstrated that increasing the minimum wage would have a direct and substantial impact on the federal budget. What that means is that we can clearly raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour under the rules of budget reconciliation.”

Although most Democrats support the increase, it is uncertain if they have the 50 votes that would be needed to pass the legislation through the reconciliation process. If they can get to 50, Vice President Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote.

In addition, the Senate parliamentarian still has to rule on the issue.


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