Third-ranking House Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) blasted his Republican colleagues who are in opposition to a minimum wage increase as Congress continues to address poverty and the lingering pandemic response.
Clyburn says that Republicans are out of touch and reaching backwards to legislative practice – the filibuster – that is rooted in a racist history to stall progress on the matter.
“You see that our Republican colleagues are now adhering to the political philosophies that are a throwback to the 1940s and 1950s. And they’re using the filibuster to deny progress, basically, to low-income people,” Clyburn told members of the media at a Capitol Hill press conference. This came just before Democrats convened for a two-day gathering on party policy, according to reporting by The Grio.
Clyburn said further, “If they’re going to use the filibuster to deny a minimum-wage increase, it would be tantamount to using it to deny civil rights. That, to me, is what we’re going to be talking about going forward.”
The Senate Parliamentarian’s recent ruling that excluded the gradual $15 minimum wage increase from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Democrats proposed a $15 minimum wage as part of the 2020 campaign. The covid package was an emergency reconciliation bill that would have only required a 51 majority vote in the senate, which Democrats have.
Now that the minimum wage increase will be a stand alone bill, it requires 60 votes in the senate. Republicans vow that if Democrats push for the proposed $15 minimum, they will use the unpopular filibuster to oppose it.
Clyburn says the use of the filibuster harkens back to an “arcane method of denying progress” where it was used to implement the Jim Crow system.
“This party is not going to do it, and if [Republicans] want to be characterized that way, we will oblige them,” he said. “I tell you, I will not be quiet on this issue. People of color will not be quiet on this issue.”
Clyburn addressed those who were unwillingly support the $15 minimum saying, “They ought to be ashamed of themselves. They give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to wealthy people, and they are bemoaning us using the reconciliation process to give people a $15 an hour minimum wage.”