Democratic Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader slammed his party’s COVID-19 relief bill Monday, citing the $15 minimum wage provision and other elements that he said have nothing to do with the pandemic.
Schrader explained his “No” vote on House Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, which passed the House in a 219-212 vote Saturday with no Republican support, in an interview with KGW8. Schrader said he had a number of issues with the legislation, mentioning the Senate parliamentarian ruled that a $15 minimum wage provision could not be included in the relief package.
The Senate will now have to make changes to the bill in order not to include language increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour and send it back to the House for a vote before they vote on it later this week.
There were “a number of very huge problems, number one is there was no legislative process. I mean, we were presented with 1.9, not allowed or encouraged to offer amendments … The voice of the elected representatives not heard in this package at all, it was a take it or leave it approach and $1.9 trillion dollars, every other COVID package that we’ve done, not only has been bipartisan, but has gone through an extensive vetting process, you know, before, during and after the after, you know, that came together,” Schrader said in the interview.
“Why are we not allowed to represent our districts? There’s a ton of stuff in here that has nothing to do with COVID, nothing to deal with the emergency at hand. Some of it’s very good, you know, good stuff, but not at all related to COVID. You know, that’s, that’s being I think, disingenuous to the American people or the Oregonians. The minimum wage increases ruled out of order by the parliamentarian and we did it anyway. The rules don’t apply to us?” Schrader continued.
The Oregon Democrat then went on to slam the $15 minimum wage, saying there are no small businesses that think raising the minimum wage during the pandemic is a good idea. (RELATED: Senate To Vote On Biden’s Relief Package As Early As Wednesday)
“I’d argue respectfully, as a small businessman for 30 plus years, there’s not a small businessman or woman out there that thinks raising the minimum wage in the middle of a pandemic when we’re trying to get them to hire people, makes it good, makes good sense. Particularly in struggling restaurant and hospitality industries. It makes no sense at all,” Schrader continued.
The relief package also includes an expanded child tax credit and $130 billion to help K-12 schools reopen. (RELATED: House Votes To Pass $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package)
No Senate Republicans are expected to vote in favor of the legislation, which means every Democrat will need to support it in order for it to pass.