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Biden says he does not expect minimum wage hike to be in COVID-19 relief bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said in an interview released on Friday he does not expect his proposal for a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour to be included in his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill because of Senate rules.

“My guess is it will not be in it. But I do think that we should have a minimum wage, stand by itself, $15 an hour,” Biden said in an interview with the CBS Evening News.

Increasing the minimum wage may run afoul of Senate rules on reconciliation, a tool Democrats plan to use to pass Biden’s coronavirus relief bill without Republican support in the closely divided Senate.

Biden said he would be prepared to negotiate the wage rise separately and the increase could be phased in.

“No one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage. And if you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage,” Biden said.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sonya Hepinstall

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