Minimum wage increase could work under Biden’s stimulus, CBO reports

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Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bill to hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would grow the deficit by $54 billion over a decade, Congress’s independent budget scorekeeper estimated Monday.

That prediction of a deficit pile-up could work in Sanders’ (I-Vt.) favor as he fights to include the minimum wage increase in the package Democrats are crafting to enact President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

Biden cast doubt Friday on whether the minimum wage provisions would pass Senate rules on what can be included under reconciliation, the process Democrats are readying to be able to clear the stimulus package with just 51 votes in the Senate. “I don’t think it’s going to survive,” Biden said.

Under the fast-tracked budget procedure, a bill considered through reconciliation must have a significant effect on federal spending, revenues or the debt. The Senate parliamentarian decides which provisions will make the cut, but congressional leaders can tinker with the language to try to make it work.

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