The White House on Wednesday downplayed criticism that they had unfairly attacked a Congressional Budget Office report on the minimum wage, insisting that they were “not going after” the nonpartisan agency.
“We're not going after anyone,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney to reporters aboard Air Force One, en route to Mexico, where the president is joining the North American Leaders Summit.
The CBO released a report on Tuesday which found that raising the wage would help boost incomes for 16.5 million Americans	 and lift 900,000 people above the poverty line. But the report also cautioned that the wage hike would cost the economy about 500,000 jobs by 2016.
The White House touted the income numbers but challenged the data claiming it could cause more unemployment.
President Obama has pressed lawmakers to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10, but the measure is unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled House, where conservative lawmakers fear raising wages could hurt small businesses and weaken job growth.
Obama signed an order raising the minimum wage for new federal contract employees, one of many executive actions he has taken to push his agenda forward where Congress has failed to act.
“As Jason Furman, the President’s chief economist, said yesterday, we respectfully disagree with that particular conclusion and point to the deep and wide body of academic research on this that supports our view,” Carney added. “Obviously we have enormous respect for the CBO, and I think that’s reflected in the fact that we point to some of the other conclusions in that report.”
Carney said many economic experts in the field had found there would be no job losses from raising the minimum wage.
“But again, that’s a respectful disagreement on a particular finding in which the experts in the field have expressed a different view,” he said.