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Sat Feb 20, 2021, 12:24 PM

Sanders says $15 minimum wage not 'incidental' to federal budget as its place in Covid relief...

Sanders says $15 minimum wage not 'incidental' to federal budget as its place in Covid relief bill questioned

By Ryan Nobles and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Updated 11:47 AM ET, Sat February 20, 2021

(CNN)Sen. Bernie Sanders argued Saturday that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour isn't "incidental" to the federal budget, despite skepticism from Capitol Hill and the White House of its future in the President's Covid-19 relief package.

"I'm very proud of the strong arguments our legal team is making to the parliamentarian that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is not 'incidental' to the federal budget and is permissible under the rules of reconciliation," the Vermont independent told CNN on Saturday.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour stands as the biggest obstacle to getting President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill across the finish line. Some congressional Democrats doubt the provision will be allowed under the guardrails of reconciliation, a budget process that requires each provision to adhere to a strict set of rules, while a handful of moderate members have made it clear privately and in public statements that they can't support legislation that includes it.

But Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, has remained confident that the minimum wage increase will survive the review of the Senate parliamentarian and does not violate the Byrd Rule, which keeps "extraneous" measures out of the budget. Sanders and the Budget Committee's legal team have been meeting with the Senate parliamentarian's office this week, arguing that the minimum wage increase would directly affect the federal budget and therefore be allowed to pass the Senate with only 51 votes through the reconciliation.


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