Although even the President himself opined a few weeks ago that the minimum wage increase would likely be stripped out of the American Rescue Plan Act, the issue is still very much alive and could possibly be passed as part of the $1.9 trillion relief bill. Prevailing wisdom had the wage hike dead once Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced his opposition to more than doubling the federal wage (currently $7.25/hour) over the next five years, but with the House keeping it in the bill, one has to wonder whether Manchin and other moderate democrats in the Senate would oppose the final bill – with or without the minimum wage increase. President Biden earlier this month met with republican Senators who were looking to facilitate a compromise on the minimum wage, but nothing seemingly came of that meeting and democratic congressional leadership has shown no inclination to work with republicans on this or any other issues. Notwithstanding, Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have proposed more moderate compromise legislation that would increase the federal minimum over a five-year period to $10/hour but tie that minimum to a requirement that businesses be required to use the E-Verify system to ensure the employment eligibility of workers. Under the Romney-Cotton proposal, future increases would be tethered to inflation. Despite that effort however, it would appear that democrats are intent on the $15 minimum wage.