WASHINGTON D.C. — Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would cut 1.4 million jobs and lift 900,000 people out of poverty, according to a study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers have pushed for legislation that would more than double the existing minimum wage of $7.25, saying it would help bring low-wage workers out of poverty.
"If you look at who has kept us together, these last almost a year now since COVID hit, it's people we haven't thought were worth paying $15 dollars an hour. We need to pay people what their worth is,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan said.
Republicans have argued the increase would cut jobs and cripple small businesses.
“The idea that we have elected representatives that would add additional costs at a time when somebody small businesses are struggling to even stay in business, tells me that they have absolutely no idea what's happening out in the real world,” Small Business Association of Michigan President and ex-Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said.
“I fear what the real outcome is that it pushes more of the business ,more of the activity. more of the revenue over to bigger businesses that can operate on a big global scale and really small margins, and when you lose small businesses and our communities, I think that there's a huge price to pay,” Calley added.
The CBO says if the law was passed more than 17 million Americans would have their pay increased, and more than 10 million others who already hover near $15 per hour could also see their wages rise as well.
The study shows that the U.S. deficit would increase by $54 billion in that same time and consumers would likely see higher prices for goods and services as a result of the increase.
The Biden Administration has proposed including a federal minimum wage increase in a new COVID relief package. Those talks are still underway but in a an interview with CBS Sunday, President Biden said he didn't believe that part would "survive" the negotiations.
On Monday night the Democratic-led U.S. House included the minimum wage raise in their draft of their reconciliation bill, pushing it one step closer. The bill would increase federal minimum wage to $9.50 immediately, gradually increasing each year to $15 by 2025.