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It Only Takes One

Given the 50-50 split in the Senate, it only takes one Democrat defection to kill any piece of legislation if no Republicans play ball. 

Possible Defections

There are three Democrat Senators in the pool of potential defectors.

  1. Joe Manchin, Wet Virginia 
  2. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona 
  3. Jon Tester, Montana

Minimum Wage Defection Found

The Wall Street Journal reports Manchin doesn't support Biden's $15 minimum wage proposal. 

Manchin proposes the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 should be raised by a smaller amount.

Manchin seeks $11 adjusted for inflation in future years. West Virginia's current minimum wage is $8.75.

Reconciliation Issue

Manchin is not the only problem Biden has with the minimum wage. 

Note that a hike in the minimum wage is not a budget item subject to reconciliation rules.

That means it would take 60 Senators to go along if any Republicans were persistent with a filibuster.

Killing the Filibuster

What about killing the filibuster rule?

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That idea does not work because Manchin and possibly other Democrat Senators are against killing the filibuster process. 


Might there be a compromise?

That's possible. The $11 proposal of Manchin could fly or perhaps something a bit higher like the Arizona minimum wage of $12.15.

Possible Republican Defections in Smaller Hike

  • Arkansas Min Wage $11.00
  • Maine Min Wage: $12.15
  • West Virginia Min Wage: $8.75
  • Arizona Min Wage: $12.15

Manchin would go along with $11 or possibly slightly higher. Sue Collins in Maine might easily go along with $12.15. Arkansas is more of a wild card but perhaps Tom Cotton or John Boozman would go along with $11.00. 

There are no Arizona Republican Senators in play (both are Democrats) but $12.15 and seems like a possible target.

My guess is either $11.00 or $12.15 will fly especially if small businesses are exempt. 

The key is avoiding a filibuster. That may take exemptions for small businesses. 

In practice, however, a small business exemption might not mean much. It will be hard for small businesses to attract people at $7.25 if everyone else is paying $11.00 or $12.25.

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Regarding point #3, Manchin is willing to go along with Biden's $1.9 trillion proposal.