Monday, February 8, 2021

Last Call For (Minimum) Waging War

The Congressional Budget Office has scored Bernie Sander's $15 an hour minimum wage bill as good news and bad, that it would initially reduce employment by about 1.4 million jobs and cost $54 billion over ten years, but that more jobs would be created over those five years elsewhere, and that nearly a million American households would be lifted out of poverty.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bill to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would grow the deficit by $54 billion over a decade, Congress’s independent budget scorekeeper estimated Monday.

That prediction of a deficit pile-up could work in Sanders’ (I-Vt.) favor as he fights to include the minimum wage increase in the package Democrats are crafting to enact President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

Under the fast-tracked budget process Democrats could use to clear the aid package with just 51 votes in the Senate, the bill must have a direct and substantial impact on federal spending, revenues or the debt. So the Congressional Budget Office score is a boon for Democrats fighting for the minimum wage hike to be included, even as Biden casts doubt on whether it would past muster under Senate rules for the reconciliation process.

“What that means is that we can clearly raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour under the rules of reconciliation,” Sanders said about CBO’s predictions.

“Let’s be clear. We are never going to get 10 Republicans to increase the minimum wage through ‘regular order,’” said Sanders, chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “The only way to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour now is to pass it with 51 votes through budget reconciliation.”

The wage proposal, S. 53 (117), would gradually hike the federal hourly minimum from $7.25 to $15 by 2025 and index future increases to median wage growth. It would also eliminate the sub-minimum tipped wage.
The final call is the Senate Parliamentarian, but they are allowed to work with the Senate once they have a CBO score to consider, which they now do. So it's possible to put the $15 minimum wage hike in the reconciliation bill.

We'll see if it makes it.  Gonna want to see how the Senate GOP votes against it, and every single one of them will most likely, but again, it only matters if voters feel like making them pay.

It worked in Georgia.

Republicans Go Viral, Con't

Texas Republican Ron Wright has died from COVID-19 after being admitted to a hospital along with his wife two weeks ago, marking the second House Republican to die from the virus in the last few months.

“Congressman Wright will be remembered as a constitutional conservative. He was a statesman, not an ideologue,” according to a statement released by Wright’s office. “Ron and Susan dedicated their lives to fighting for individual freedom, Texas values, and above all, the lives of the unborn. As friends, family, and many of his constituents will know, Ron maintained his quick wit and optimism until the very end. Despite years of painful, sometimes debilitating treatment for cancer, Ron never lacked the desire to get up and go to work, to motivate those around him, or to offer fatherly advice.”

According to the statement, Wright had been keeping a vigorous work scheduled before contracting the virus. Two weeks ago Wright and his wife were admitted to Baylor hospital in Dallas because of COVID-19 side effects.

Wright, a former Tarrant County Tax Assessor, is survived by his wife, Susan; his daughter Rachel, his sons Derek and Justin, his brother, Gary and nine grandchildren.


House Republican Congressman-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana died at the end of last year, but Republicans ignored his death, saying his heart attack had absolutely nothing to do with his COVID-19 diagnosis when of course Letlow had no evidence of heart issues and was only 41, with right-wing news listing Letlow's death as solely from a heart attack.

So no, I don't expect congressional Republicans to start wearing masks either. You'd think from purely a cold political standpoint that they would start requiring serious COVID-19 procedures because dead Republican lawmakers can't vote against everything the Democrats want to do, but that's just me.

Democrats Versus The Austerity

Congressional Democrats are hitting Republicans right where it hurts: by actually helping Americans with kids by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit substantially.
House Democratic leaders will unveil legislation Monday that would give millions of families at least $3,000 per child, advancing a key provision in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package
Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal, who is leading the crafting of the legislation for the stimulus package, will introduce the enhanced Child Tax Credit bill, according to a committee spokesperson. 
"The pandemic is driving families deeper and deeper into poverty, and it's devastating. We are making the Child Tax Credit more generous, more accessible, and by paying it out monthly, this money is going to be the difference in a roof over someone's head or food on their table," Neal said in a statement provided to CNN. 
CNN obtained a copy of the 22-page bill. The Washington Post first reported on it. 
The legislation would provide $3,600 per child under the age of six and $3,000 per child age six through 17 for a single year. The full benefit is available to single parents earning up to $75,000 annually and for couples earning up to $150,000. Payments would phase out after those thresholds. 
Families can receive the Child Tax Credit payments on a monthly basis, which advocates say will make it easier to pay their obligations compared to getting a lump sum at tax time.
If this particular legislation is passed by Congress, the payments would begin in July for one year. 
Another big change: The credit would become fully refundable for the year. Some 27 million children currently live in low-income families who receive a partial or no tax credit because they earn too little, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 
The current Child Tax Credit provides up to $2,000 per child under the age of 17. The credit phases out for single parents with a modified adjusted gross income over $200,000, and $400,000 for married couples. Families receive a single payment. 
Some 90% of families with children will receive an average credit of $2,380 in 2020, according to a non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimate. 
Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Suzan DelBene of Washington and Ritchie Torres of New York are also set to introduce on Monday standalone legislation that would continue the expanded benefit permanently.
Going to be interesting to see how Senate Republicans try to kill this by saying American parents need to pay more in taxes, but my guess is they'll say the lower phaseouts amount to a "major middle class tax hike" when it actually doesn't, the phaseouts for the current $2,000 payment would be the same as they are now for any single parents making $75k-$200k and for married couples $150k-$400k.

But it means American parents making less than that get a considerable boost, and can choose to get that boost monthly.

Those are the major differences, and I expect Republicans are going to just claim IT'S TIME TO TIGHTEN AMERICA'S BELT and vote against it anyway, but not all of them will.

We'll see.


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