- The Washington Times - Friday, February 26, 2021

Brian Deese, a top economic adviser to President Biden, said Friday that Vice President Kamala Harris will not move to overturn a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour is out of bounds for Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

“The vice president’s not going to weigh in,” Mr. Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said on CNBC. “The president and the vice president both respect the parliamentarian’s decision and the process.”

“We don’t agree with it; we’re disappointed by it,” Mr. Deese said. “But we’ll respect that process.”

White House chief of staff Ron Klain had said as much earlier in the week, but the parliamentarian’s ruling on Thursday triggered a new round of calls from the left for the White House to reverse course.

A coalition of liberal advocacy groups wrote a new letter to President Biden and Ms. Harris in which they urged the vice president to use her authority as president of the Senate to “disregard the recommendation” of the parliamentarian.

The groups, which include a number of organizations geared toward promoting Black and female rights, also delivered an implicit threat about future elections if Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris don’t follow through.

“As you know, women and people of color were the deciding force in electing both the president and the Senate in the 2020 elections; a $15 minimum wage was one of the top reasons they voted and will determine whether they vote again,” the letter said.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, said Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough should be replaced.

Ms. Omar shared a news article from 2001 about how former parliamentarian Robert Dove was ousted after issuing several rulings Senate Republicans didn’t like.

“Republicans go for their agenda and don’t let anyone stand in their way as they fight for corporations over people,” Ms. Omar said on Twitter. “We have to fight hard for the American people and not hide behind a ruling from an unelected parliamentarian.”

In 2017, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky had launched an unsuccessful push to get former Vice President Mike Pence to overrule Ms. MacDonough as Republicans were trying to repeal Obamacare.

Senate Democrats are now crafting backup plans, including potentially hiking taxes on companies that don’t pay their employees at least $15 per hour.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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