WASHINGTON — Republicans are rallying solidly against Democrats’ proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. But even as they do, lawmakers are awaiting a decision by the Senate’s parliamentarian that could bolster or potentially kill a pivotal provision hiking the federal minimum wage.
Democrats plan to push the sweeping package through the House on Friday.
They were hoping the Senate would follow quickly enough to have legislation on President Joe Biden’s desk by mid-March.
The big suspense is over whether the nonpartisan parliamentarian will decide if the minimum wage plan can stay in the bill and enjoy its protection against a GOP filibuster.
Democrats hope to include a measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Republican senators have proposed a package that would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, a figure that hasn't changed since 2009.
The package proposed by the Democrats would distribute $1,400 checks to most Americans. If passed, those checks could be delivered as soon as next month.