Democrats’ Minimum Wage Increase Would Kill 1.4 Million Jobs, Congressional Budget Office Finds

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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An increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour would result in the loss of 1.4 million jobs, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) average estimate detailed in a report released Monday.

The Raise the Wage Act would also raise the budget deficit $58 billion, according to the CBO analysis. That would potentially jeopardize the ability of Democrats to pass the bill through budget reconciliation, which is how Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suggested he would try to turn it into law.

Democrats re-introduced the bill, which passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in 2019, on Jan. 26. It is supported by both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to CNBC. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: SBA Hid Comms With Planned Parenthood Amid GOP Criticism Over PPP Loans)

Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour was included as a provision in President Joe Biden’s original COVID-19 relief package, but it was removed during congressional negotiations. The Raise the Wage Act is a standalone bill that would gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, beginning with an increase from $7.25 to $9.50 this year.

The proposal to include the increase in a COVID-19 relief bill received bipartisan pushback over concern that it would hurt employment, particularly in rural and small town areas.

The CBO also reported the bill would increase the costs of goods and services: “Higher prices for goods and services — stemming from the higher wages of workers paid at or near the minimum wage, such as those providing long-term health care — would contribute to increases in federal spending.”