If they can’t find an alternative rate hike to fit into the budget reconciliation bill, which they’re trying to pass by the middle of March, they will have to try to pass such a plan through regular order, meaning 60 votes would be needed in the 50-50 Senate.
The Senate could move to open debate on the bill as soon as Wednesday, with a marathon voting session on amendments — known in the Senate as a vote-a-rama — potentially Thursday. But the timing is still in flux.
Democrats were still finalizing their plans to bring the Covid-19 relief bill to the Senate floor, a source with knowledge of the matter said, in part because the measure is still going through a review by the Senate parliamentarian.
Once the bill is introduced, the chamber is expected to strip out the provision in the legislation increasing the federal minimum wage following the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling.
Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who was working with Sanders on the proposal, touted the “plan B” as a possible alternative to incentivize companies to pay a higher minimum wage.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was eying the proposal, a senior Democratic aide told CNN on Friday, but Democrats encountered questions within their caucus about how such a plan would be structured, and ultimately were concerned that debate over how to draft the alternative proposal threatened timely passage of the overall bill, another Democratic official familiar with the matter told CNN.
After the relief bill hits the Senate floor later this week, the bill would then head back to the House for a separate vote before it reaches Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
This story has been updated with additional information Sunday.