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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Even with a congressional parliamentarian's ruling that the $15-an-hour minimum wage proposal can't be included in a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the speaker of the House said she would leave it in. And U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, still plans to vote 'no” on the bill, which she says is more than 90 percent 'Washington pork spending.”
'Iowa's families, businesses and communities are still struggling after nearly a year; I know they need help,” Hinson, who represents the 1st Congressional District, told reporters on a call Friday. 'But this bill did not focus on COVID-19 relief, stopping the virus or getting students back in class.”
She noted the PPP program was a 'critical lifeline,” as well as direct assistance payments. But she believed 'less than 9 percent of the bill” focused on direct virus measures, such as COVID-19 vaccine distribution, contact tracing and testing for coronavirus.
The bill, which is expected to pass Friday on a party-line vote through the Democratically controlled House, will next go to the Senate. It's being passed through a process called budget reconciliation, which allows Democrats the ability to pass it narrowly through the Senate if all Democrats vote yes.
Currently, the bill still includes the minimum wage hike, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years, despite the Senate parliamentarian ruling it went against procedure.
Hinson's characterization of the bill mirrors what other House Republicans have said, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who called much of the bill's spending 'waste or a wish list from progressives.”