No easy path through Congress
President Joe Biden’s first big legislative goal is to get a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill through Congress. But even though Democrats have control (barely) of House and Senate, they are proving that their majority is not enough to ram a Democrat agenda through.
One issue of contention in the bill is the wish of a large number of Democrats to attach a $15 national minimum wage to the bill. First, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the Senate can’t include a straight-out $15 wage in the bill. So, they’ve been trying to find ways around and through the loopholes, like threatening big tax increases on businesses that don’t pay $15 an hour.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is intent on forcing an amendment that will put it back in the bill, saying it is “the soul of the Democratic Party.” But he doesn’t have enough Democrats to get it done.
With a 50-50 split in the Senate, making Vice President Kamala Harris the tie-breaker, it is almost impossible to get anything through the Senate on a strictly partisan vote.
The Senate will continue working on the aid bill this week, but it won’t be exactly what Bernie Sanders and his true believers would like.
When you need at least a 60-40 edge to get past filibusters and really control the Senate, we can be assured that the Democratic margin isn’t going to let them run roughshod over everyone else.