First, the final language of the bill is not set. In the year since the coronavirus has taken hold, it has stalled much of the economy, killed half a million Americans and reshaped the daily lives of virtually everyone.
Progressives have argued that the increase was relevant to the national budget as it would boost the incomes of tens of millions of people and lower the spending social services. It contains billions of dollars for vaccines and COVID-19 testing, schools, state and local governments and emergency jobless benefits while providing tax cuts or payments for many families with children.
That suggests Democrats could well lack the strength they need for it to survive.
"I'm very proud of the strong arguments our legal team is making to the parliamentarian that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is not "incidental" to the federal budget and is permissible under the rules of reconciliation", the Vermont independent told CNN on Saturday.
CNN previously reported that the parliamentarian was "stoic" during a meeting this week with Democratic aides about whether the minimum wage provision would be permissible through reconciliation and did not tip her hand one way or the other, according to a Democratic aide familiar.
"He will 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", Psaki said. Republicans and some moderate Democrats fear that the move would cost jobs, particularly as many small businesses struggle amid the pandemic. "They say we could lose 1.4 million jobs", she told the media after speaking with small businesses. "Today, you can walk into all kinds of businesses offering entry-level work, with no experience necessary, and find employment paying well above the minimum wage".
Imagine if someone being paid the minimum wage of $7.25 gets COVID-19. They have just a 10-vote edge in the House and no votes to spare in the 50-50 Senate.
Despite their paper-thin congressional majorities, Democratic leaders were hoping that House approval of the package would be followed by passage in the Senate, where changes seem likely. Democrats are aiming to get the legislation to Biden's desk by mid-March. 63% of West Virginians support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
A decision by the parliamentarian that the minimum wage hike must fall from the bill could be fatal, but not necessarily.
It will force Democrats to make politically painful choices about what to do next on the federal minimum wage, which has long caused internal party rifts.
Sen. Christine Tartaglione, D-Philadelphia, and Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, have introduced legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour starting July 1; $12.50 an hour starting July 1, 2022; $13 an hour starting July 1, 2023; $13.50 on July 1, 2024; $14 an hour starting July 1, 2025; and finally reaching $15 an hour starting July 1, 2027.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have state minimum wages that exceed the federal $7.25 hourly floor, with only the District of Columbia now requiring a $15 minimum.