House Committee Approves $15 Federal Minimum Wage Despite CBO’s Job Loss Projections

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Workers demanding a $15 minimum wage protest in Las Vegas, Nev., June 14, 2019 (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Democrats on the House Committee on Education and Labor on Wednesday approved a $15 federal minimum wage measure included in President Biden’s COVID relief package, despite a recent study suggesting the move would eliminate 1.4 million jobs.

“It’s a wrap, $15 #MinimumWage passes the [Education and Labor] committee after more than 13 hours of debate,” committee member Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) wrote in a tweet early Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, a study released Monday by the Congressional Budget Office projects that the measure — which boosts the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2025 — would cut 1.4 million jobs. It would also raise roughly 900,000 Americans out of poverty, the study shows.

House Republicans criticized the move on Wednesday.

“Once again, Democrats are ignoring vulnerable, hardworking Americans, choosing instead to favor left wing special interests and those who support their radical agenda,” ranking member Representative Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.) said in a statement. “Forcing children to miss out on a high-quality, in-person education while cherry picking the schools that receive relief and championing a job-destroying $15 national minimum wage hike is hardly ‘bold relief.’”

Foxx rebuked committee Democrats for voting down the GOP’s “commonsense amendments,” including a measure to block funding for higher education institutions linked to the Chinese government.

“At 3 am, House Democrats voted against my amendment which would have prohibited funds to higher education institutions who partner with the Chinese Communist Party,” Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

The House on Friday passed an updated budget resolution sent over from the Senate that allows Democrats to force through Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package without Republican support.

The measure, which passed 219-209 with all House Republicans voting “no,” allows the process for lawmakers to draft a final coronavirus relief bill under budget reconciliation to begin.

Budget reconciliation allows Democrats to avoid a Republican filibuster and pass the package with a simple majority vote.

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