President Biden met with business leaders at the White House on Tuesday as part of his push to rally support for the $1.9 trillion pandemic package being debated in Congress and his plan to raise the minimum wage.
Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with the chief executives of Walmart, Gap, Lowe’s and JPMorgan Chase, as well as Thomas J. Donohue, who heads the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The meeting was expected to focus on a range of topics related to the president’s economic plan. Mr. Biden and his top advisers were expected to discuss the administration’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour from $7.25, people familiar with the plans said earlier in the day.
The idea of an across-the-board increase to $15 an hour faces opposition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and at least one of the chief executives invited to the event has also urged a slower, more targeted increase. Doug McMillon of Walmart has said that he believes $7.25 is too low but that any plan should take into account “geographic differences.”
Such a move would not happen right away, if at all. Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders have already committed to not raise the wage until the pandemic has subsided. It also faces significant headway from Republicans, who say it will force small businesses to fire workers and could put some out of business.
But Mr. Biden and his allies in Congress see as a central weapon for fighting poverty and inequality.
A report by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday found evidence that both sides cited in support of their arguments: a $15 minimum wage would offer raises to 27 million people and lift 900,000 people above the poverty line, but it would also cost 1.4 million jobs, the budget office concluded.
Here are the chief executives who were invited to the event on Tuesday:
Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase
Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Doug McMillon of Walmart
Sonia Syngal of Gap Inc.
Marvin R. Ellison of Lowe’s Companies
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