According to two anonymous sources, the move comes after Democrats were left seeking alternatives after the Senate parliamentarian nixed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.
With the minimum wage discussion out of the way, for now, the Senate "could begin consideration of the stimulus measure as soon as Wednesday — with final votes as soon as late Thursday — pending full Democratic support and sign off from the parliamentarian," according to the report.
The tax penalties were proposed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT, who notoriously didn't pay his own campaign staff $15 an hour until he was called out), however it became clear over the weekend that pushing the issue would risk failure, as all 50 Senate Democrats would need to agree on specific language in order to avoid missing a March 14 deadline for extending expiring supplemental unemployment benefits, according to one of Bloomberg's sources.
The decision removes a major complication in the Senate and could speed approval of the rest of the package in the chamber. In addition to getting the backing of all 50 senators who caucus with Democrats, the tax language also would have had to pass muster with the parliamentarian, the House and the administration and be signed by Biden -- all in a two-week period.
Still, dropping the minimum wage increase from the stimulus could create other headaches for both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. -Bloomberg