Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would potentially pull nearly 1 million people out of poverty, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
But the report also found hiking the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, which would raise the income for about 16.5 million workers by $31 billion, would cost 500,000 jobs by 2016.
So the report offered fodder for both sides of the debate on whether to raise the wage.
President Obama and congressional Democrats have proposed raising the minimum wage, which could be a big issue in the 2014 elections. Republicans have objected saying it would be too costly for businesses and result in lost jobs.
"Our focus should be creating, not destroying, jobs for those who need them most," House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Brendan Buck told The Hill.
The administration disputed the idea that 500,000 jobs would be lost
"Zero is a perfectly reasonable estimate of the impact of the minimum wage on employment ," said Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman in a conference call with reporters in response to the CBO report.