President Joe Biden's plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 would hike the nation's deficit by tens of billions of dollars and kill over a million jobs, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.
The nonpartisan agency's analysis concluded Monday that a $15 minimum wage would reduce the nation's workforce by 1.4 million—half a million more than the number it would raise out of poverty. It would also increase the cumulative federal budget deficit by $54 billion over the next 10 years, with interest-rate bumps and inflation adding another $16 billion.
Promoted by President Biden and introduced as a bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), the measure is one of several proposals Democrats hope to tuck into their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation.
Democrats approved a $1.9 trillion budget resolution Friday, skirting a 60-vote threshold in the narrowly divided Senate through a process known as reconciliation. The resolution now heads to congressional committees, which will debate such hot-button proposals as a $15 minimum wage and $1,400 direct relief payments.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) succeeded Friday in stalling any immediate minimum-wage changes through an amendment that will pause any hikes until the end of the pandemic. The passage of her amendment could forecast the proposal's eventual defeat in committee, which President Biden said is likely.
"I put it in, but I don't think it's going to survive," he told CBS about his $15 minimum-wage proposal Sunday.
But other Democrats are holding out hope. Sanders said on CNN Sunday that he had "a room full of lawyers" ready to argue for the measure's inclusion in the budget. He also noted, however, that the Senate parliamentarian will make the final decision on whether the measure is a budgetary concern.