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House Democrats pass gradual $15 minimum wage hike in late night committee vote

The $15 minimum wage hike was part of the House Education and Labor Committee's budget reconciliation legislation for Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan

Updated: February 10, 2021 - 2:11pm

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House Democrats later Tuesday evening passed a gradual $15 minimum wage hike in a committee vote.

The increase from $7.25 an hour was part of the House Education and Labor Committee's budget reconciliation markup for President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. In the legislation, the minimum wage would reach $15 in 2025.

The language of the Raise the Wage Act was incorporated into the $170 billion COVID-19 stimulus funding legislation for public schools during the virtual committee markup that began late in the afternoon on Tuesday. The vote on the legislation was 27-21 along party lines. 

"This legislation invests in safely reopening schools, raises wages and increases safety protections for workers, expands access to affordable care, and provides support for the surge of families facing hunger and hardship during this pandemic," House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott wrote in a statement.

Ranking member Rep. Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, criticized the majority's actions.

"Once again, Democrats are ignoring vulnerable, hardworking Americans, choosing instead to favor left wing special interests and those who support their radical agenda," she said.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders told reporters on Wednesday that Democrats are including the gradual $15 minimum wage hike in Biden's stimulus plan because they do not have 60 votes in the Senate to pass it.

"We're not going to get the 60 votes we need and the only way we're going to do it with 50 votes is through reconciliation," he said.

The use of budget reconciliation allows Democrats to pass Biden's stimulus plan without GOP votes in the Senate. 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently projected that a gradual $15 minimum wage in Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package would result in 1.4 million workers losing their jobs.

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