House Democrats on the Education and Labor Committee voted to approve a $15 minimum wage proposal as part of the coronavirus relief package, despite warnings from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that it could put 1.4 million Americans out of work.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) celebrated the passage of a proposal to more than double the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by the year 2025.
“It’s a wrap,” she tweeted. “$15 #MinimumWage passes the [Education and Labor] committee after more than 13 hours of debate.”
CNBC reports that it is unclear if the minimum wage provision would survive inclusion in the final $1.9 trillion aid package due to strict Senate rules.
Still, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is hoping to get it through.
“We’re trying to work as well as we can with the [Senate] parliamentarian to get minimum wage to happen,” he told reporters.
The vote supporting a $15 per hour federal minimum wage comes within days of a CBO report indicating such a move could cost 1.4 million American jobs.
Raising the minimum wage would lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty, the report adds, but 1.4 million would presumably dip down in take-home pay considering they’d be out of work or underemployed.
“Young, less educated people would account for a disproportionate share of those reductions in employment,” the CBO states.
Worse, they’d likely be out of the workforce for quite some time.
“In 2021, most workers who would not have a job because of the higher minimum wage would still be looking for work and hence be categorized as unemployed,” they write.
“By 2025, however, half of the 1.4 million people who would be jobless because of the bill would have dropped out of the labor force.”
If House Democrats don’t get their $15 minimum wage wish with this coronavirus relief package, President Biden has vowed to push for the pay hike at a later time.
“I put it in but I don’t think it’s going to survive,” Biden told CBS News in an interview this past weekend. “My guess is it will not be in [the stimulus bill].”
That doesn’t mean he’s about to give up.
“I’m prepared as the president of the United States on a separate negotiation on minimum wage to work my way up from what it is now,” Biden argued.
“No one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage and you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage.”
A recent post by Factcheck.org indicates the numbers could end up being better than the CBO estimates, but they could just as easily be worse.
“There also is a 33% chance that between zero and 1 million jobs would be lost, and a 33% chance that the decrease would be between 1 million and 2.7 million jobs,” they write.
A Biden adviser dismissed concerns about jobs being lost due to a $15 minimum wage.
White House Counsel of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein said “we have a tendency to focus on some of the big negatives.”
Being jobless would seem like a pretty big negative for most Americans.
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