Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said on Tuesday that he was fighting to include a federal minimum-wage increase in a sweeping bill Democrats are drafting to carry President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, but declined to say whether Democrats would seek to upend Senate rules to make sure that it survived.
Mr. Schumer said he was working with the Senate official charged with interpreting the chamber’s rules to make sure the plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025 could pass muster according to strict standards for what can be included in a budget-reconciliation measure. Democrats are determined to advance the stimulus package as part of a reconciliation bill, which requires only a simple majority to pass and thus could be enacted, if necessary, without Republican support.
But it is unclear whether the wage increase qualifies under the restrictive rules, and Mr. Biden has said he does not expect it to survive. Mr. Schumer would not say whether Democrats would take the extraordinary step of trying to overrule the Senate’s parliamentarian, if necessary, to insist on its inclusion.
His remarks came as he appeared with the newly installed Democratic chairmen of the committees charged with considering the stimulus package, and just as the Senate was to begin the second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump.
“To the pundits who said we can’t do both at once, we say you are wrong,” Mr. Schumer said. “We can and we are.”
House committees were to begin meeting on Tuesday afternoon to solidify the details of Mr. Biden’s pandemic aid plan, while senators were set to spend hours in the chamber listening to arguments in Mr. Trump’s trial.
Even as he sought to focus attention on the stimulus package, Mr. Schumer said the trial was a necessary step to bring closure and consequences after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which Mr. Trump stands accused of inciting.
“When you have such a serious charge, sweeping it under the rug will not bring unity,” he said. “It will keep the sore open, the wounds open. You need truth and accountability.”
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