Biden's proposal to raise the US minimum wage to $15 an hour was reportedly removed from the US coronavirus relief bill by the Senate parliamentarian on Thursday.
The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, ruled that the minimum wage increase is "merely incidental" and cannot be included in the bill.
The news on the decision was initially broken by a Bloomberg reporter, who said that the Senate parliamentarian had ruled the minimum wage boost out of order.
MacDonough's ruling comes after she and her staff heard arguments from both Democrats and Republicans about whether the proposal meets the necessary standards for reconciliation - a process that can allow the Senate to pass bills with a simple majority, in this case indicating no Republican votes would have been needed to approve.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was among the first to react to the parliamentarian's ruling, remarking that he was "very pleased" that the minimum wage policy was named by MacDonough "inappropriate."
"This decision reinforces reconciliation cannot be used as a vehicle to pass major legislative change - by either party - on a simple majority vote. This decision will, over time, reinforce the traditions of the Senate", Graham tweeted.
Very pleased the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a minimum wage increase is an inappropriate policy change in reconciliation.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) February 26, 2021
Senator Bernie Sanders posted a statement expressing his disagreement with the parliamentarian's ruling and asserting that the "fight" for the minimum wage increase in the US will continue.
I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian. But the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour continues. pic.twitter.com/pGwrYKjOel— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 26, 2021
The Senate can still overrule the guidelines issued by the parliamentarian, who is a neutral arbiter of the chamber rules. It is unclear whether the House will amend the relief plan before sending it to the Senate.
The proposition to increase the US minimum wage to $15 an hour was rolled out by President Biden in his 'American Rescue Plan', immediately prompting debate between the two parties. Republican Senators Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton offered an increase of $10 instead, along with restrictions regarding hiring undocumented immigrants. According to observers, Democrats will reject this framework.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the $15 an hour minimum wage implementation could see unemployment rise by an estimated 1.4 million and the budget deficit increase by $54 billion in the decade between 2021 and 2031.
Others point out that the raise will be good for the US economy and for Americans. In particular, Senator Sanders noted that it would benefit 32 million workers and would give low-wage workers an extra $3,300 a year, money that would be immediately spent back into the economy.