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Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Costco will raise its minimum wage to $16 per hour, CEO Craig Jelinek told lawmakers Thursday at a Senate Budget Committee hearing, per CNN.

The big picture: The move places Costco's base pay above competitors like Target and Amazon, CNN reports. Jelinek said more than half of the company's in-store workers are paid more than $25 per hour.

Why it matters: The increase comes as Congress debates whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 hourly. A measure that would do so could be included in Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion economic relief bill, depending on the judgment of the Senate parliamentarian.

  • President Biden and leading Democratic lawmakers support the increase.

What they're saying: "We're certainly not perfect, but we try to take care of our employees, because they play such a significant role in our success," Jelinek told the committee, according to Business Insider.

Go deeper

First look: Hawley to introduce alternative to minimum wage hike

Photo by Erin Scott/pool/AFP via Getty Images.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is jumping on the minimum wage bandwagon and will introduce an alternative to Democrats' proposal on Wednesday that would use federal dollars to increase low-earning workers' income, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Hawley, a Trump-style Republican who's considered a likely 2024 presidential contender, is breaking with the mainstream GOP orthodoxy in suggesting that he believes the federal minimum wage is too low.

Feb 24, 2021 - Podcasts

The minimum wage state of play

We’re in the longest period of time since the minimum wage has been created that it hasn’t been adjusted. You’ve probably heard the progressive and Democratic argument for a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage. Now, some Republicans are responding with a proposal to raise it to $10 an hour by 2025.

  • Plus, what we’re just learning about security around the Jan. 6 insurrection.
  • And, how Home Depot is a proxy for the housing markets.

States pass coronavirus aid without Congress

A health care worker administering a coronavirus vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Oakland, Calif., on Feb. 16. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Multiple states have passed or are considering economic relief bills as the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus plan makes its way through Congress, AP reports.

Why it matters: The state aid packages aim to help jobless residents and struggling small businesses devastated by the pandemic. But the individual action also bolsters arguments against another major cash infusion from the federal government.