On The Money: Twenty states raise minimum wage at start of new year | Trade group condemns GOP push to overturn Biden victory | Top Democrat: Georgia runoffs will influence push for $2,000 checks
Happy Monday and welcome to the first 2021 edition On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.
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THE BIG DEAL—Twenty states raise minimum wage at start of new year: Twenty states and dozens of localities increased their minimum wage on Friday, giving a financial boost to many frontline workers during the pandemic.
- New Mexico will see the largest jump, adding $1.50 to its hourly minimum and bringing it up to $10.50. Arkansas, California, Illinois and New Jersey will each increase their minimum wages by $1.
- Alaska, Maine and South Dakota will increase wages by just 15 cents an hour, while the rate in Minnesota will rise by half that, at 8 cents, to $10.08 an hour.
- Additional increases are scheduled for elsewhere this year, with most changes taking effect on July 1.
Low-income earners, like much of the country’s workforce, have seen their wages remain relatively stagnant for decades when inflation is taken into account. Proponents say the new raises will help reduce poverty and offer much-needed pay hikes to some of the most vulnerable workers.
“Minimum wage increases income levels, reduces poverty, so I think it’s pretty clear that it improves conditions in the lower end of the wage distribution,” said Daniel Kuehn a research associate at The Urban Institute. The Hill’s Niv Elis has more here.
LEADING THE DAY
Manufacturing trade group condemns GOP push to overturn Biden victory: The largest trade group for U.S. manufacturers is criticizing a Republican effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and urging lawmakers to focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
In a Monday statement, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons urged lawmakers to “uphold their constitutional responsibility” and vote to certify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCotton breaks with conservative colleagues who will oppose electoral vote count Trump to give Nunes Medal of Freedom: reports Hogan says lawmakers’ ‘scheme’ to overturn election results ‘makes a mockery of our system’ MORE’s victory when Congress convenes Wednesday to count the votes of the Electoral College.
“Election officials in both parties, as well as state and federal courts in more than 60 cases, have determined that the outcome is not in doubt. Joe Biden is our next President, and Congress must heed the voice of the American people,” Timmons said. I’ve got more here.
Top Democrat: Georgia runoffs will influence push for $2,000 checks: Democratic efforts to provide Americans with stimulus checks of $2,000 will be influenced in large part by the outcome of Tuesday’s Senate runoffs in Georgia, a top House lawmaker said this week.
“I think it’s more contingent upon what happens on Jan. 5,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealInsurers lose multiyear lobbying fight over surprise medical bills House GOP rejects unanimous consent on ,000 direct payments House passes massive spending deal, teeing up Senate vote MORE (D-Mass.) told reporters Sunday when asked about the timing of future legislation on direct payments.
- Democrats, as well as President Trump and some Republican lawmakers, are pushing to increase the $600 stimulus payments in a new coronavirus relief law to $2,000.
- The House last week passed a bill to increase the payment amount to $2,000, with 44 Republicans joining most Democrats in supporting the measure. But the bill was not taken up by the GOP-controlled Senate.
A new Congress started Sunday, meaning House Democrats will need to pass their previous bill again if they want it to move forward. If Democrats win both of the Georgia Senate runoffs, they will have control of Congress once President-elect Joe Biden takes office, increasing the odds of passing new stimulus legislation. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda breaks it down here.
Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed: President Trump on Sunday renominated Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve, attempting to fill the final vacant seat on the central bank’s board just weeks before he is set to leave office.
Trump renewed Shelton’s nomination on the first day of the new Congress after she failed to muster enough support for confirmation last year. Unconfirmed presidential nominations automatically expire at the end of a session of Congress.
Shelton’s renomination is the first step in a last-ditch push by Trump to add a controversial ally to the Fed board. If Republicans can defend one of Georgia’s two Senate seats in Jan. 5 runoff elections, Shelton may have enough support to be confirmed before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in Jan. 20. I have more on Shelton’s narrow path to the Fed here.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Stocks opened 2021 with a selloff, raising questions as to whether the rally in recent months was reaching its end.
- The coronavirus recession is driving a wedge through the U.S. housing market, sparking concerns of worsening inequality.
- The world’s 500 richest people added approximately $1.8 trillion to their combined wealth in 2020, bringing them to a total net worth of $7.6 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
- China on Saturday vowed to take “necessary measures” in order to protect its companies following the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) delisting three Chinese telecom firms for alleged ties to the country’s military.
- Five flashpoints to watch for in 2021 economy
ODDS AND ENDS
- More than 200 Google employees on Monday announced the creation of a union, a historic first at a major technology company.
- The Trump administration on Monday finalized plans to open more than 80 percent of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve (NPRA) to oil drilling, pushing ahead over objections from environmentalists who have already challenged the plans in court.