While Democrats had pushed for the increase to be included, its removal may actually make it easier to pass the bill, senior Democratic sources believe, because it’ll avoid a messy fight over whether to strip it out of the bill and whether to compromise.
The decision marks the end of a multi-weeks effort by the Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, to include the provision in the bill.
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement following the ruling. “We are not going to give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 to help millions of struggling American workers and their families. The American people deserve it, and we are committed to making it a reality.”
But the ruling likely makes it easier for Schumer to get his members in line behind the bill since the rise in the minimum wage had been a key sticking point for moderates like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
There are no viable options to use the procedures in the Senate to keep the wage hike in the bill.
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, a little known but powerful Senate official, has been thrust into the spotlight this week, with Democrats eager to see whether the minimum wage increase would survive in the President’s relief package. MacDonough is the first woman to serve in the role of Senate parliamentarian — a nonpartisan role — since that position was created in the 1930s.
This story has been updated with additional details.