The Corner

Economy & Business

With the $15 Minimum Wage Dead, What Next?

(pgaborphotos/Getty Images)

The Left is in the throes of a temper tantrum over the fact that a $15 minimum wage can’t be included in the COVID bill. As I explain on the homepage today, though, the Senate parliamentarian made the right decision here: A minimum-wage hike is not primarily a budget policy, and therefore is not eligible for the filibuster-proof “budget reconciliation” process.

And as I also explain, telling Democrats they’re restricted to things that affect the budget — such as shoveling taxpayer money out the door — is not that big a limitation. Indeed, Democratic senators have already said they’re exploring alternatives to a minimum-wage hike that would probably qualify, such as taking tax benefits away from businesses that pay workers less than $15 an hour.

Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Mitt Romney might have an opening here; they’ve offered their own plans for boosting wages, and they might be able to fashion something that could either qualify for reconciliation or gain enough Republican support to beat a filibuster of a separate bill.

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