Minimum Wage Hike is Out of Covid Bill; Could California Oust Gavin Newsom?
Author: Greg Valliere
February 5, 2021
MINIMUM WAGE HIKE — NOT NOW: Chances of passing Joe Biden’s Covid relief bill improved last night, when the Senate agreed to not pursue a divisive minimum wage hike to $15 per hour.
DOZENS OF AMENDMENTS WERE ALLOWED yesterday as part of the budget reconciliation process. One, from GOP Sen. Joni Ernst, would “prohibit the increase of the federal minimum wage during a global pandemic.” It passed, virtually killing an immediate hike; perhaps Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressives can prevail later this year with a gradual rise in the wage.
BUT THE SENATE AGREED with Ernst that “a $15 federal minimum wage would be devastating for our hardest-hit small businesses at a time they can least afford it.”
THE AMENDMENTS ALSO HIGHLIGHTED a strong desire to curb relief checks from going to wealthy families, and it’s now virtually certain that President Biden will lower the income threshold for these payments. There’s also strong support for small businesses, which will get plenty of aid.
THE KEY, OF COURSE, is to get 50 votes in the Senate to pass a bill that moderate Democrat Joe Manchin can support; he’s been opposed to the minimum wage hike, so last night’s vote will increase chances that he will support a final bill. It’s still looking like a $1.5 trillion package, passed by mid-March.
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NEWSOM IN FREE-FALL: Once considered a potential presidential candidate, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is in danger of getting booted out of office. He has been tone-deaf on Covid and now faces a potential recall.
MONEY IS POURING INTO THE GOLDEN STATE to fund a recall; the deadline for signatures is March 17. Proponents say they have 1.3 million signatures; the requirement is 1.5 million but the anti-Newsom activists probably will need close to 2 million because of challenges to signatures, according to Politico.
CALIFORNIA’S ERRATIC VOTERS recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and then elected Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Like Davis, Newsom once had strong support from unions, but teachers and others have been highly critical of Newsom’s handling of Covid.
NEWSOM HAS NEVER RECOVERED from the public relations disaster of violating his own social distancing edict by dining with lobbyists at the nation’s most expensive restaurant, the French Laundry in Napa Valley (we went there, long before the pandemic; it was hilariously pretentious).
ANOTHER CASUALTY of the Covid epidemic is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who also had presidential ambitions. Cuomo was the subject of a scathing New York Times article this week that described a near-revolt by the state’s health officials, many of whom have quit, complaining that he’s arrogant and impossible to work for.
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