DETROIT – The U.S. Senate is set to take up President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion relief plan after it passed out of the House of Representatives.
The version sent to the Senate won’t include a plan to raise the minimum wage. It’s an issue House Democrats are promising to revisit.
Earlier in February, Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell vowed to champion the wage hike.
“When it comes to the minimum wage, I am going to be one of the loudest screamers about it,” Dingell said Feb. 7.
A Senate rules official said the minimum wage raise can’t be a part of the COVID Relief Plan, but Dingell said the proposal isn’t dead yet.
“There will be a lot of discussions about minimum wage and you may see it being moved as a separate bill,” Dingell said.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, setting a new minimum wage would give a raise to 17 million U.S. residents, raising 900,000 people out of poverty, but it also could cut 1.4 million jobs by 2025.
Dingell and other Democratic lawmakers acknowledge that, but said those jobs won’t be gone for good and that the benefits outweigh the cost.
“Just in my district, 88,000 people would be impacted and be given a little more money,” Dingell said. “And when they’re making more money, there’s more money going into the economy.”
But the clock is ticking on the overall relief plan with unemployment benefits set to expire in March and additional money still locked up in the plan that has yet to pass the Senate.
“I think it’ll be about two weeks and you will have a bill on the President’s desk,” Dingell said.
Help is potentially days away as millions of U.S. residents look to Congress to keep its promise to provide relief.
The last time the federal minimum wage was raised was July 24, 2009. It is currently the longest period the U.S. has gone without raising the federal minimum wage since it was instituted in 1938.