Senate Democrats attempting to get minimum wage hike in U.S. COVID-19 aid

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. Senate continue to try to find a way to include a minimum wage increase in a comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill they aim to advance in coming weeks, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday.

“We’re trying to work as well as we can with the parliamentarian to get minimum wage to happen” as part of the legislation, Schumer told reporters.

Special Senate rules limit the kinds of initiatives that can be included in a bill in order to speed it through the chamber without the support of Republicans.

Democrats have been pushing for more than doubling the minimum wage over five years to $15 per hour.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday that doing so would put $509 billion more in pay in the pockets of people affected by the raise. But it also noted that 1.4 million jobs could be lost in 2025 when the measure would be in full force.

Last week, President Joe Biden, who backs the wage increase, said in an interview with CBS News that he thought Senate rules could block the inclusion of the initiative in the upcoming COVID-19 relief bill.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. It was last raised in 2009.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler)

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