Tell our Senators: Kill the filibuster and overrule the parliamentarian!

Tell our senators to overrule the parliamentarian and abolish the filibuster

A spectacle is playing out in Washington that will affect millions of people's lives. President Biden's covid relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, was approved by the House, including a provision that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.

Now the package is headed to the Senate, where the $15 minimum wage is in trouble. Why? Because the American Rescue Plan is going through a process called reconciliation, which allows the bill to be passed by a simple majority rather than a filibuster-proof majority of at least 60 votes.

By Senate rules, only items relevant to the federal budget can be passed through reconciliation. Unfortunately, an unelected Senate parliamentarian has ruled the minimum wage increase is not related to the federal budget and shouldn't be included in the covid relief bill.

Tell our senators: $15 minimum wage belongs in the American Rescue Plan

We disagree with the parliamentarian's decision. A recent study found that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would lift 32 million workers out of poverty -- including 843,000 in Wisconsin. Of those Wisconsinites, the majority are women and people of color working on the front lines during a pandemic.

Giving workers a much-needed raise would allow them to get off federal assistance, saving billions of dollars in taxpayer money and giving them more to spend at local businesses, revitalizing the economy for everyone. The minimum wage has not been raised since 2007 - this is long overdue.

The parliamentarian's decision is not binding. It's an advisory decision that can be overruled by Vice President Harris and has been overruled by vice presidents in the past. Our senators must tell Harris to ignore the parliamentarian's decision and keep the $15 minimum wage in the American Rescue Plan.

Tell our senators: It's also time to abolish the filibuster

But our senators must do more. None of this would be an issue if it were not for the filibuster. The filibuster is an arcane Senate procedure that allows any senator to speak for hours or even days to hold up any piece of legislation they don't like, unless at least 60 other Senators vote to close debate. That's why legislation not passed through reconciliation needs at least 60 votes.

In a senate divided 50-50 along party lines, with only a tie-breaking vote from the vice president, that just won't do. We will never be able to pass our progressive agenda that the vast majority of Americans support -- Medicare for All, Green New Deal, student loan forgiveness, criminal justice reform, and more -- as long as these programs can be filibustered by a single senator.

It is time for the Senate to abolish the filibuster -- an arcane relic used to hold up civil rights legislation in the past. We cannot allow the filibuster to continue holding up progress for the American people.

Please write a letter telling Wisconsin Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson to 1) ask Vice President Harris to override the Senate parliamentarian and include the $15 minimum wage in the American Rescue Plan, and 2) abolish the filibuster as a barrier to continued progress.

You can also CALL our Wisconsin senators:
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin at (202) 224-5653
  • Sen. Ron Johnson at (202) 224-5323