Bernie’s secret weapon on the minimum wage? The guy who wrote the book on Senate budget rules

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If millions of Americans see a pay rise because the federal minimum wage rises in a party line vote in the Senate, Democratic lawmakers and the White House will rush to take the credit. But a member of the Senate committee staff, who had been removed from the House until just a few weeks ago, may have as much right to victory as any legislator casting a vote: Bill Dauster, lead counsel for Senator Bernie’s Budget Committee. Sanders.

Dauster has long been known on Capitol Hill as an extraordinary expert on budget processes, having literally written a book, “The Law of Annotated Budget Process,” on the subject during his more than 30 years at Hill. “He’s a solid guy, not scathing, he doesn’t yell and hit the table, and he makes his point the way good debaters do,” said Bill Hoagland, who fought Dauster for years from across the aisle for so long. weather. Republican time budget aide. “If you face Bill, you better be prepared. That’s all I can say, ”Hoagland said. As senior adviser, Dauster has been a big part of the big $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill procedural fight – whether a minimum wage increase was allowed under the special Senate rules governing the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bills. fast track budget reconciliation. If the Senate MP rules against allowing the minimum wage increase in reconciliation, Democrats have said they will try to find other ways, including moving separately from the budget process, to increase the wage. But the fact that the MP did not issue a quick ruling, as expected, has been seen by Democrats as a sign that it is a close and possibly winnable decision. “I think it‘s obvious that in terms of the MP, we think it’s going well,” Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, D.-Ore., Said Thursday afternoon. Dauster’s reentry to Hill came as Sanders stepped up what many budget experts thought would be a futile search to include a minimum wage increase in reconciliation, an optional process lawmakers can use to expedite related law changes. with the budget in Congress, with immune bills. to obstructionism in the Senate. Read more: ‘I’ll happily keep shopping there forever’ – Costco customers react to retailer’s new $ 16 minimum wage Hoagland said Dauster’s idea was that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office was prepared to do one more study Profound from the indirect effects of a minimum wage increase in the federal budget, not just an estimate of how much more the government would spend to pay its workers a higher salary, and that that could change the parliamentary equation. In January, Dauster wrote a guest opinion piece on Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill. While conventional wisdom argued that an increase in the minimum wage would have very little budgetary impact to avoid conflicting with the Byrd rule’s ban on “foreign” material in reconciliation bills, Dauster in his op-ed said that even those relatively minor impacts, as rated by the CBO for a 2019 minimum wage bill, should be enough to avoid Byrd’s ban on “merely incidental” budget effects. “So it is a question of judging whether the budgetary effects of raising the minimum wage are ‘merely incidental’ to its non-budgetary effects,” he wrote. A few weeks later, the CBO issued a score for an updated minimum wage bill, looking more broadly at its impact on the economy and how that would affect government finances. That score found it would increase the deficit by $ 54 billion over an 11-year period, the CBO said, “using techniques [CBO] has developed over the last two years. ”That compared to a deficit increase of $ 76 million for the 2019 bill. Hoagland said the CBO’s approach raises questions about whether big changes in spending would now be treated as behavioral and “dynamic” changes by the agency, an approach Democrats rejected when the Republican Party wanted it to be used to reduce revenue loss estimates for tax cuts. In his January op-ed, Dauster also He noted that the 2017 tax cuts approved by Republicans under the reconciliation contained provisions to reduce the penalty to zero for people who do not purchase health insurance and to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration. “If I could do those things, I should be able to raise the minimum wage,” Dauster wrote of the reconciliation. On February 15, at Sand’s request ers, the CBO sent him a letter comparing the breadth of those impacts – how many thematic areas of the budget they touched – to the breadth of a minimum wage increase. The CBO said the impact of the pay increase would be felt in more areas, a response Democrats likely knew before requesting the letter, but now have on the public record. In addition to his knowledge of the law of the budget process, Dauster has been described as a “Star Trek” fanatic and after his retirement began writing Wikipedia entries on weekly Torah portions. In a 2017 Washington Jewish Week profile, Dauster was quoted as saying about his retirement plans: “I want to read the classics. I want to see a lot of movies, maybe take some classes. “” When we started talking about replacing the president [Donald] Trump with someone else, then maybe he’ll pay attention to what’s going on in Washington again. ”