In a blow to Democrats, a Senate lawmaker ruled he could not include a $ 15-an-hour minimum wage proposed by President Joe Biden in the
$ 1.9 trillion coronavirus bill the party aims to pass without Republican votes, lawmakers said Thursday.
Democrats and progressives had hoped to include a minimum-wage increase in legislation to help ease the economic blow of the coronavirus epidemic and better compensate low-wage workers who spent months on the forefront of the health crisis as basic workers.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement that Biden was "disappointed by the decision" and would "work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should work full-time and live in poverty."
"We will not give up the fight to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 to help millions of American workers and their families," Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
Biden and many of his Democratic friends want to more than double the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour by 2025. They included an increase in the coronavirus aid bill to help combat the heavy humanitarian and economic cost of the pandemic, which has killed more than 500,000 Americans and left millions out of work.
Democrats are trying to advance the COVID-19 bill under a special “budget compromise” process that would allow them to pass the bill by an absolute majority in the Senate so they don't need Republican support.
Two Senate Republicans, Tom Cotton and Mitt Romney proposed on Tuesday raising the minimum wage to $ 10 an hour.
Not all Democrats support a $ 15 salary. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has proposed increasing the salary to $ 11 over two years.
The current federal minimum wage is $ 7.25 an hour. It was last enlarged in 2009.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after a Senate lawmaker's decision that the $ 15 minimum wage would still be included when the Democratic-controlled House passes the aid bill Friday.