Patterico's Pontifications

3/5/2021

Fight for Fifteen Put on Hold for Now

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:59 pm



[guest post by JVW]

NRO reporting:

Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) proposed amendment to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 failed in the Senate on Friday, with seven Democrats and one independent joining Republicans in voting down the measure.

Senators Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), Jon Tester (D., Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.), Chris Coons (D., Del.) Tom Carper (D., Del.) and Angus King (I., Maine.) voted against an attempt to waive a procedural objection against adding the wage hike to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

Because the Senate parliamentarian had earlier ruled that the minimum wage hike could not be considered as part of a budgetary bill and would thus require 60 votes to waive that rule in order to proceed, these Democrats (and Sen. King) could have made party activists happy by voting in favor and then lamenting that those nasty Republicans blocked the bill by not providing their assent. So I find it kind of surprising that those eight Senators who caucus with Democrats were willing to go on record as being against the federal rise in the minimum wage. I am scouring their Twitter feeds to see if any of them have addressed the issue, and it appears that only Sen. Sinema has stepped up to the plate to say that she favors a higher minimum wage, but feels that attaching it to a COVID bill was not appropriate. Perhaps we will hear more from them over the weekend, but surely she understands that it is highly unlikely to survive a filibuster as a separate bill in a 50-50 Senate.

This was not at all unexpected, with even the President acknowledging that Democrats would be likely forced to sacrifice the higher minimum wage in this go-around. The battle carries on, with everyone’s favorite grouchy Marxist, Senator Bernard Sanders, vowing to bring this bill up again and again until Democrats have managed to bring inflation to such a level that $15 is the price of two Taco Supremes, a bean burrito, and a medium Pepsi at Taco Bell, at which point we could compound our misery by artificially raising wages which won’t matter much to the robots assembling your drive-thru lunch anyway. But the Democrats run the show now (just barely), so be prepared for all sorts of this kind of stuff coming up.

– JVW

16 Responses to “Fight for Fifteen Put on Hold for Now”

  1. In totally unrelated news, my local grocery story just turned two check-stands into six self-serve check-out kiosks. And as a follow-up to my post a while back about hero pay for grocery workers, the city of Los Angeles has joined with their colleagues in Long Beach and the County of Los Angeles in demanding via legislation that large grocery stores give the $5/hour extra pay to workers for the next four months. It sure would be a good time to be selling automated check-out kiosks.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. > the city of Los Angeles has joined with their colleagues in Long Beach and the County of Los Angeles in demanding via legislation that large grocery stores give the $5/hour extra pay to workers for the next four months.

    they should have done that in mid-summer at the latest. Grocery workers are assuming a real risk of death, every day, in exchange for a paltry paycheck.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  3. It was probably abandoned because the alternatives (strong tax incentives) would not affect union contracts.

    Sammy Finkelman (0cf810)

  4. Anthony Weiner was for it until he saw the w in wage

    steveg (43b7a5)

  5. It’s never a good idea to have government set wages or prices. Capitalism works for a reason.

    norcal (01e272)

  6. I note that the filibuster has gone (again) from “Bulwark of Democracy” to “Tool of Southern Racists.” I imagine they will “nuke” it now. Sadly, they will need a quorum to do that, and the Constitution is quite clear that will take 51 Senators to be present. Fifty + the VP isn’t the same thing.

    I guess they can force Senators to attend, but there is no duty of state authorities to comply.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. demanding via legislation that large grocery stores give the $5/hour extra pay to workers for the next four months.

    How is this legal? Is it a tax? I guess they could impose a per-employee-hour tax on grocery stores and then give this money to whatever workers were still working, but ordering A to pay B some money isn’t quite the same thing.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  8. The Senate parliamentarian is not the be all and end all concerning Senate rules. When the Senate was also evenly divided in 2001 the Republicans fired the parliamentarian over rulings that made it more difficult to pass Bush’s tax and budget cuts . I’m surprised the Democrats didn’t do this at this time (though some on the left wanted to.) And Vice President Harris could have overruled the parliamentarian.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. And Vice President Harris could have overruled the parliamentarian.

    She didn’t have the votes — Manchin said he would not support such a ruling.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  10. they should have done that in mid-summer at the latest. Grocery workers are assuming a real risk of death, every day, in exchange for a paltry paycheck.

    The grocery stores did add a bonus to workers during the summer, but they did it on their own volition without the legislative mandate. That’s the way it ought to be. And if we’re worried about what looks like record revenue from grocery stores in this wild year, we should recall that a chunk of that money will be used to backfill some pension and other employee obligations.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  11. I just love stories that discuss company revenue, and suggest how it should be distributed. If it’s a business story in the Wall Street Journal, that’s one thing, but if it’s just a regular newspaper article with a philosopher-king approach, where the writer thinks “something should be done” about “obscene corporate profits”, I’m nauseated.

    I’m sick of the mindset that some government bureaucrat should calculate “fair” wages and prices, and interfere with the free market.

    norcal (01e272)

  12. When was the filibuster the “Bulwark of Democracy”? During most of its shabby history it was the tool used by Southern Democrats to stop civil rights legislation. More recently it’s been a tool used by Republicans, when they’re in the minority to stop everything. And given that when they’re in power mostly what they want is tax cuts (accomplished by reconciliation) and judges (against whom the filibuster magically disappears) then I can’t see that they are particularly bothered by the Democrats having theoretical power of filibuster when the Democrats are in the minority.

    Can you point to a recent example of Republicans wanting something stopped by a D filibuster? The best I can remember was Alaska ANWR drilling, but perhaps you have something fresher. At any rate, whatever marginal use the filibuster might have briefly had for D’s, that’s long gone. And I defy you to point to any D who ever described it as Bulwark of Democracy.

    And I’d need a cite for the proposition that 50 senators plus VP couldn’t break the legislative filibuster, or at least weaken it dramatically. A quorum normally refers to the number of senators who need to be present, not the number who have to vote in favor.

    As for Sinema’s claim she is really for the minimum wage but wants it debated separately. Either she’s stupid or thinks her constituents are, but I guess it doesn’t really matter which.

    Victor (4959fb)

  13. Can you point to a recent example of Republicans wanting something stopped by a D filibuster?

    I refer you to this opinion piece by Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post:

    When Schumer was minority leader, he vigorously used the filibuster to do just that. Under his leadership, Democrats used the filibuster to block funding for construction of Trump’s border wall in 2019. They used it not once, but twice to impede passage of the Cares Act — forcing Republicans to agree to changes including a $600 weekly federal unemployment supplement. They used it in September and October to stop Republicans from passing further coronavirus relief before the November election. They used it to halt Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) police reform legislation so Republicans could not claim credit for forging a bipartisan response to the concerns of racial justice protesters. They used it to block legislation to force “sanctuary cities” to cooperate with federal officials, and to stop a prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion, bans on abortions once the unborn child is capable of feeling pain, and protections for the lives of babies born alive after botched abortions.

    And those are just the bills Democrats killed with actual filibuster votes. More often than not, the majority doesn’t even bring up legislation that does not have 60 votes needed to cut off debate. Just the threat of a Democratic filibuster stopped Republicans from moving forward on a host of priorities, including entitlement reforms, immigration reforms, lawsuit reforms, health-care reforms, budget cuts, expanded gun rights and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. And Democrats have used the filibuster to force Republicans to reduce the scope of some of their biggest legislative achievements. Republicans could not make the Trump income tax cut permanent, because they had to use the arcane budget reconciliation process (which requires a simple majority vote, but limits what can be enacted) to avoid a Democratic filibuster.

    Republicans generally filibuster Democrat plans to expand government. Democrats generally filibuster Republican plans to reform government.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  14. JVW,
    Thanks for the list. I’d forgotten how vigorous Schumer was in 2019. I do reject the premise of your last sentence. I don’t see how building an expensive, environment wrecking and useless border wall reforms government, nor ending funding for reproductive health. As for the blocking “permanent” tax cuts, cry me a river.

    And it doesn’t change the bottom line. The modern filibuster, as you note, means that there’s a 60 vote majority required for all ordinary legislation. I think that’s stupid. I think it’s less stupid when it’s Democrats because since at least the 90’s Democratic senators even when in the minority represent a larger number of Americans than Republicans because the Senate itself is unbalanced. But still stupid.

    Victor (4959fb)

  15. demanding via legislation that large grocery stores give the $5/hour extra pay to workers for the next four months.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 3/5/2021 @ 4:29 pm

    How is this legal? Is it a tax?

    it;s thefederal government that has more limited powers. States and localities have more power to make economic and other regulations, limited by their state constitutions, which may place restrictions on the state and limit the powers of local governments.

    from the 1870s through the 1930s, and especially after the 1905 decision t. Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905), the United States Supreme Court used the due process clause of the 14th amendment to limit regulations by states to things done for special reasons, like public health, ruling it was a deprivation of property without due process of law.

    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/198/45 has an incorrect decided date 1906 instead of 1905) on the left side of the screen but it is 1905 on the right side of the screen. it is a good question how this error on the page persisted in such a famous case.

    Sammy Finkelman (09d1ac)

  16. 13.

    the arcane budget reconciliation process (which requires a simple majority vote, but limits what can be enacted)

    changes in law made through budget reconciliation are not supposed to increase the budget deficit when averaged over a 10 year period, so many tax cuts are scheduled to expire even though that’s not what congress wants to do. setting the penalty for failing to buy health insurance to $0.00 was scored as reducing the deficit because fewer people would enroll.

    https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/53826-healthinsurancecoverage.pdf

    https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2018/jul/eliminating-individual-mandate-penalty-behavioral-factors

    If things turn out differently than tthe CBO projects, no adjustments are made.

    Sammy Finkelman (09d1ac)


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