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The Biden administration and progressive Democrats are heading for their first big policy clash over whether to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour as part of the upcoming COVID-19 stimulus bill.

Progressives, who have long rallied for the policy, say it would help stimulate an economy hampered by the pandemic. They view the bill as the best vehicle to get the wage increase passed into law.

President Biden supports the goal, but is pumping the brakes on whether it should be part of the stimulus package. For starters, Biden, a pragmatist who spent decades in the Senate, worries a minimum-wage hike provision will be deemed inappropriate under the special reconciliation process that Democrats are using to pass the bill.

The Senate parliamentarian is expected to issue a preliminary ruling as early as next week on whether the wage hike can be included, and Biden has notably not endorsed the calls of some Democrats who want to overrule any decision that would prevent its inclusion.

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