Today, eight Democratic senators – Tom Carper, Chris Coons, Maggie Hassan, Angus King (ostensibly an independent), Joe Manchin, Jeanne Shaheen, Kyrsten Sinema, and Jon Tester – all voted no on a procedural vote on the $15 minimum wage. Perhaps some of these senators can be persuaded to support a separate job-killing minimum-wage bill, or perhaps some of them are willing to support a lower floor, but Democrats can’t afford to lose a single vote.
Liberal pundits have been pressuring Democrats into firing the Senate parliamentarian and jamming through a minimum wage in the COVID “relief” bill using reconciliation. That’s now a moot point, and Democrats probably didn’t actually want it in the bill. As is the filibuster, which has become such a perfunctory grievance on the left that even after today’s procedural vote they were still demanding the Senate get rid of it. How can Democrats justify blowing up a filibuster when they can’t even convince their own caucus to get behind a popular $15 minimum wage? Killing the filibuster won’t help them.
Democrats might be able to get away with hiding a bunch of ideological goodies in a “stimulus bill” and passing it, but how many senators do they lose on a Green New Deal? And what bill, exactly, is going to convince Sinema or Manchin to destroy the filibuster in order to ram it through?