WASHINGTON — Legislation that would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour over five years would increase deficits by $54 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office reported.
The CBO score, which takes into account a broader range of economic factors than a 2019 analysis that found minimal budgetary impact, could bolster Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders’ case that the minimum wage bill is eligible for budget reconciliation under Senate rules.
On the other hand, the higher expected cost could make it more difficult to fit within the confines of the budget resolution adopted last week. And the CBO projection of 1.4 million additional jobless under the minimum wage increase, which would lead to increased federal spending, could pose political hurdles. The CBO also reported, however, that the measure could lift some 900,000 Americans out of poverty.
The Vermont independent and other Democratic leaders are working on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package using reconciliation procedures, which allow legislation to skirt a Senate filibuster and pass with a simple majority.