Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on February 26, 2021.

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on February 26, 2021. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

'It Should Be Easier to Raise Minimum Wage Than to Drop Bombs on Syria': Progressives Fume at Biden

"We assassinate people by drone strike and have a literal prison colony in Guantanamo but where we draw the line is ignoring the Senate parliamentarian when [she] says no to a minimum wage hike."

Jake Johnson

The contrast between the procedural difficulty of pushing a modest pay increase for millions of workers through the Senate and the relative ease with which President Joe Biden—without congressional approval—launched a deadly bombing campaign in Syria late Thursday was the subject of much discussion and outrage as the president's lethal operation overseas coincided almost simultaneously with the Senate parliamentarian's advisory ruling against a popular $15 minimum wage measure.

The two events, according to progressive critics and political commentators, spotlighted how existing institutional constraints are heavily biased against the advancement of working-class interests but do little to prevent the commander-in-chief from unilaterally bombing foreign nations on the basis of highly dubious-to-nonexistent legal authority.

"Can't get Americans their relief checks in the midst of a historic pandemic for which the nation’s economy was effectively shut down, but bombing Syria some more is a first 100 days priority. Unbelievable."
—Elizabeth Bruenig, New York Times

"Personally I think it should be easier to raise the minimum wage than to drop bombs on Syria," tweeted The New Republic's Kate Aronoff.

Pointing to the Senate's legislative filibuster as a key obstacle in the way of even minor policy changes, Matt Yglesias of the Slow Boring newsletter wrote sardonically on Thursday that "the genius of America is you need a 60-vote supermajority to raise the minimum wage, but the president can bomb some militia in Iran based on ... I dunno ... an AUMF from two decades ago that was about something else entirely or something."

While Biden had no issue bypassing congressional oversight to launch an attack on border-crossing station in eastern Syria, the White House suggested late Thursday that having Vice President Kamala Harris overrule the non-binding opinion of the Senate parliamentarian—an unelected official with no constitutional authority—would be a bridge too far, despite the fact that the Constitution empowers her to do so.

Biden "respects the parliamentarian's decision and the Senate's process," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

"We assassinate people by drone strike and have a literal prison colony in Guantanamo but where we draw the line is ignoring the Senate parliamentarian when [she] says no to a minimum wage hike," tweeted The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein.

After lamenting the highly undemocratic nature of a system in which "some unheard of parliamentarian ends up deciding whether or not a law gets passed to give millions a raise," Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) tweeted Friday morning that "we cannot stand up for congressional authorization before military strikes only when there is a Republican president."

"The administration should have sought congressional authorization here," said Khanna. "We need to work to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Latest UN Climate Report Delivers 'Another Thundering Wake-Up Call'

"Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem," said the UNEP executive director. "The clock is ticking loudly."

Jessica Corbett ·


Climate Movement Hails 'Mind-Blowing' $40 Trillion in Fossil Fuel Divestment Pledges

"Institutions around the world must step up now and commit to joining the divest-invest movement before it is too late—for them, for the economy, and for the world."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Really Fantastic': Europe's Largest Pension Fund Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment

It's "a huge victory for the climate, human rights, and all life on Earth," said one activist.

Andrea Germanos ·


Senate Urged to Quickly Confirm Net Neutrality Advocates to FCC Posts

The White House was expected to announce the nominations of acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn.

Julia Conley ·


'A Political Scam, Not a Serious Plan': Groups Blast Australia Climate Pledge

"If Morrison expects to front up to COP 26 with this sorry excuse for a net-zero emissions target and no increase in formal ambition on Australia's 2030 target, he'll be laughed out of the room."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo