$15 minimum wage would boost pay for 17 million but 1.3 million would lose their jobs, CBO says


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on “Raise the Wage Act” legislation on Capitol in Washington, January 16, 2019.

Yuri Gripas | Reuters

Hiking the U.S. minimum wage to $15 per hour would give millions of Americans a raise but put a smaller share of people out of work, according to projections released Monday.

Raising the pay floor to $15 per hour by 2025 would boost wages for 17 million workers, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated. At the same time, 1.3 million people would lose jobs, according to the CBO projections.

Earlier this year, House Democrats led by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., introduced a bill to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. The party has argued doing so would lift workers out of poverty and kickstart economic growth.

Opponents of hiking the pay floor to that level — more than twice the current U.S. minimum wage of $7.25 that took effect in 2009 — would cut positions for minimum wage workers.

The House could vote on the Democratic legislation, called the Raise the Wage Act, later this month. It is expected to pass, though the GOP-held Senate likely will not take it up. President Donald Trump could also oppose it. 

Though the bill may not become law, Democrats view it as a way to portray themselves as better for the working class than Republicans as the 2020 elections approach. 

“The CBO’s report leaves no doubt that the Raise the Wage Act will be good for workers and their families,” Scott said in a statement Monday. 

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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