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Biden Doesn't Think $15 Minimum Wage Hike Will Survive COVID-19 Relief Bill

President Biden delivers remarks on the U.S. economy on Friday.
Stefani Reynolds
Pool/Getty Images
President Biden delivers remarks on the U.S. economy on Friday.

President Biden said on Friday that his plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour is unlikely to happen as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package.

"I don't think it's going to survive," Biden said in an excerpt of a CBS Evening News interview with Norah O'Donnell released ahead of the Super Bowl. The full interview is scheduled to air on Sunday.

Democrats in Congress are moving to advance the aid package using a procedure known as budget reconciliation. Biden said in the interview that "the rules of the United States Senate" probably mean that the minimum wage hike will have to be dropped.

"My guess is it will not be in it," Biden said. But he said he remains committed to trying to negotiate an increase to the minimum wage, even if it's a gradual rise from the current level of $7.25 per hour.

The Senate late Thursday approved a measure prohibiting an increase of the federal minimum wage during the global pandemic. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said a $15 minimum would be "devastating" for small businesses already hurt by the pandemic.

In the interview, Biden also said he is prepared to negotiate on who gets the $1,400 checks he has promised will be in the aid package. He said that the "phaseout" for the direct payments may be in the range of $75,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a couple. "But again, I'm wide open on what that is," Biden said.

Biden didn't comment on the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, but did say that he doesn't think Trump should continue to receive intelligence briefings "because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection."

"I just think that there is no need for him to have the — the intelligence briefings. What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?" he said.

Former presidents are typically allowed intelligence briefings similar to those they received while in office, but a number of security experts have called for those privileges to be revoked from Trump.

Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is reviewing whether to allow Trump access to the briefings.

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Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.