Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) says he’s on board with plans to attach a $15 federal minimum wage requirement to the annual defense spending bill that Democrats are working to pass before the end of the year.
As TYT reported earlier this week, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) is pushing to add the federal minimum wage increase to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in direct response to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) attempt to use the same tactic to push through legislation that would fast-track energy projects and limit community opposition.
Khanna says that plan is currently being discussed internally within the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).
When asked if he was on board with Khanna’s push to attach a $15 hourly wage to the NDAA, Bowman told TYT, “Hell yeah! We need a $15 federal minimum wage, period. We should’ve done this a year and a half ago, but hell yeah, absolutely. Hopefully, we can make that happen.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who serves as a vice chair on the CPC, said that he hadn’t been briefed on what Khanna has dubbed “the deal for the American people to finally get a raise,” but didn’t shut it down, telling TYT that he’d be “very curious to read his [Khanna’s] legislation.”
Manchin is facing an uphill battle in his second attempt to force his permitting bill through attached to so-called “must-pass legislation.” In September, Manchin withdrew his legislation from a continuing resolution to fund the government just minutes before the Senate was set to vote, due to a lack of support.
Manchin was promised fast-tracked permitting back in July as part of a side-deal with Senate Maj. Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in return for helping Schumer pass the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Opponents of the agreement – which did not include progressives – have referred to it as the “Dirty Deal.”
While progressives and environmental activists agree that it’s necessary to fast-track renewable energy projects like wind and solar by changing permitting processes, they say it can be done without hurting communities and without including fossil fuel projects, which contribute to early death, elevated asthma rates, and even absenteeism from school and work, according to a Harvard study.
Manchin’s permitting bill would require the president to keep a rolling list of at least 25 high-priority fossil-fuel and renewable-energy projects that would have their permitting processes fast-tracked, including hydrogen and carbon capture projects.
And it would severely limit community input on potentially harmful energy infrastructure projects, like natural gas drilling, that disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income communities and create more of what activists call “sacrifice zones.”
It would also ensure the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry natural gas over 300 miles, from Manchin’s home state of West Virginia to southern Virginia – an endeavor environmental justice activists have successfully held off for nine years.
Khanna, a vocal opponent of Manchin’s bill, told TYT in a previous interview that Manchin’s permitting reforms would “ride roughshod over a lot of communities[...]that have been fighting three, four, or five years to block fossil infrastructure in their neighborhoods…”
Referring to Manchin’s attempt to tie his bill to the NDAA, Khanna told TYT on Monday, “If the big oil industry wants to hold the NDAA hostage to weakening environmental protections, then progressives should demand a $15 wage as part of securing our votes.”
He said of the minimum wage legislation, “We can call the progressive deal the deal for the American people to finally get a raise.”
And as TYT reported last week, House Natural Resources Chair Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) re-sent his September letter, co-signed by Khanna and 75 other Democratic Caucus members, to House leadership, urging them ”to exclude harmful permitting provisions from must-pass legislation this year.”
Manchin also faces opposition in his own chamber. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) says he will work to defeat Manchin’s bill in the Senate. Sanders previously told TYT, “As you know, I am a very strong opponent of that piece of legislation. I think it’s an environmental disaster and I will do what I can to make sure it doesn’t become law.”
In both chambers, ranking members of the Armed Services committees reportedly have no interest in attaching Manchin’s bill to the NDAA.
There remains a chance, however, that Republicans could push their own version of permitting leglaslation, which includes many of the same measures of the Mancin bill.
TYT Washington Correspondent Candice Cole was previously a correspondent and senior White House producer for the Black News Channel and has worked at a number of local news outlets. You can find her on Twitter @CandiceColeNews.