Efforts by Democrats to put a raise of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour into a COVID-19 relief bill have been hit with a setback, as the U.S. Senate parliamentarian ruled against them.
However, it may face tough sledding in the Senate, where the nonpartisan parliamentarian, Elizabeth McDonough, ruled that the wage increase would have to be removed from the bill. The upper chamber is deadlocked 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. The wage proposal calls for a gradual increase in hourly pay until it hits $15 in 2025.
According to the New York Times, Democrats are considering – as an alternative – boosting taxes on large corporations that don’t pay that wage.
News: Single shot J&J vaccine gets support
The new coronavirus vaccine by Johnson & Johnson that requires just one dose to be effective moved toward approval on Friday.
According to the Associated Press, the acting head of the federal Food and Drug Administration said the agency will quickly give final approval the medication, which would join vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer in the arsenal against COVID-19 infection which have killed over half a million Americans.
- U.S. airplanes carried out strikes on the camps of Iran-backed militia groups in Syria, firing seven missiles and destroying nine buildings. The attack was in retaliation for an attack on Feb. 15 that wounded one American service member and killed a civilian contractor.
Business: Costco will pay $16 an hour
The big box retailer Costco announced Thursday it would raise its starting wage to $16 an hour. The rate went to $15 an hour in 2019. According to USA Today, the average hourly rate at the firm is $24 an hour.
The company claims that higher wages lessen turnover and improve customer service. Target now pays $15 an hour to start. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
- After some upbeat days, Wall Street turned pessimistic on Friday. Two of the three top stock indexes showed red ink.
The Dow Jones Average was down 469.64 points to 30,932.37. The S&P 500 dropped 18.19 to 3,811.15. Nasdaq, in contrast, rose 72.91 points to 12,182.35.
Sports: Ex-gymnast coach dies by suicide
Death by suicide is the evident end for John Geddert, a former U.S. Olympics coach. According to Sports Illustrated, Geddert was expected to show up Thursday for arraignment on charges of human trafficking, forced labor resulting in injury, racketeering, criminal sexual conduct and lying to police. He was accused of abusing the female gymnasts he trained. His body was found later in the day.
- Memphis Grizzlies 122, Los Angeles Clippers 94. A first quarter lead melted away soon as the Clips lost in Tennessee. Kawhi Leonard scored 17 and Paul George in the loss. Despite the defeat, the team is still in first place in the NBA Pacific at 23-11, a half-game ahead of the Lakers (22-11).
Weather: Sun and wind and sun
Sunny weather is forecast for the West Orange County area for the next few days, with rising winds on Sunday. Daytime highs will be 72 through Monday with some breezes, and the windiest day should be Sunday with velocities of up to 22 miles an hour. Overnight lows are expected to be in the low 50s and mid 40s.