President Biden's top economic adviser Brian Deese downplayed a recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that found raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2025 would cost the economy about 1.4 million jobs.
Deese said the Biden administration has looked "a lot at the evidence" on raising the minimum wage and found that empirical examples show a minimal impact on employment.
"The most careful and serious economic evidence shows that the job impact is de minimis," Deese said Thursday morning during an interview on CNN, adding: "There are ways we can do this that make sense and there are ways we can do this ... that will be good for the economy and good for job growth over the long term."
The analysis from the CBO, released last week, showed that hiking the minimum wage would affect some 17 million workers in an average week in 2025, the year the higher wage would go into effect, as well as another 10 million workers who already earn close to $15 an hour.
The proposed change would also lift roughly 900,000 Americans out of poverty, the CBO said in its report.
House Democrats are moving to advance a coronavirus relief package that includes a $15 minimum wage using a procedure known as budget reconciliation, which allows them to pass the legislation without any Republican buy-ins.
But Biden cast doubt recently on whether the higher wage will be included in the final bill, saying the "the rules of the United States Senate" probably mean that the minimum wage hike will have to be dropped, though he maintained that he's committed to eventually increasing the wage to $15 per hour.
“I put it in, but I don’t think it's going to survive,” Biden told CBS’ Norah O’Donnell last Sunday. “My guess is it will not be in [the relief bill].”
He added: "I do think that we should have a minimum wage, stand by itself, $15 an hour."
The federal minimum wage has not increased in more than a decade, although a growing number of states have voted to adopt their own wage increases. There are 29 states with wages above the federal minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At $14 an hour, California currently has the highest minimum wage in the nation.