In a wide-ranging White House press briefing Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki said that while President Joe Biden still supports a minimum wage hike, he will not ask Vice President Kamala Harris to overrule a Senate parliamentarian in order to include it in a COVID-19 stimulus package that is making its way through Congress.
Despite Biden’s continued support of the measure, Psaki also indicted the administration does not currently have a plan to get it passed into law, meaning a minimum wage hike likely won’t be happening soon.
On Friday, a nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian ruled that a minimum wage hike could not be included in a budget bill. With Democrats only holding power in the Senate by virtue of a tiebreak, they chose to move ahead with Biden’s stimulus plan as a budget bill — which only requires 50 votes to passage, whereas other bills require 60.
Progressive Democrats have argued that Harris has the power to overrule the parliamentarian as president of the Senate, but Psaki on Monday said that the Biden administration has no interest in doing so.
"That’s not an action we intend to take," Psaki said.
Monday’s briefing took place hours after Senate Democrats dropped a proposal that would include a tax increase on companies who choose not to imposed a starting $15 wage. When asked if the administration has a “Plan C” to get a wage hike passed, Psaki there is no “specific path” at this point.
Psaki also pushed back on a question comparing Biden’s decision to quickly move on from a potential minimum wage hike to his decision to stick by his nomination of Neera Tanden for OMB Director, despite the fact that the administration does not currently have the votes to confirm her.
"That's mixing a few things kind of irresponsibly if I'm just being totally honest," Psaki said.
Psaki was also asked about the Biden administration’s decision not to further punish Saudi Arabia following a ODNI report linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Psaki confirmed that while the administration would be holding individuals directly involved in the murder to account, it would not be levying sanctions or further punishment against the crown prince or the country.
She added that the Biden administration believes their course of action is the best way to ensure a similar action will “never happen again.”