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 Politics Archive 2014

President Obama praises the states while criticizing the Republicans in congress for
not raising the minimum wage
by Nathan'ette Burdine: May 6, 2014

President Obama praised the states while criticizing congressional Republicans for not increasing the minimum wage. “While Republicans have been deciding whether to even allow a minimum wage bill to even come up for a vote, you’ve seen 10 states and the District of Columbia go ahead and raise theirs,” said President Obama.

President Obama’s comments were made a couple of hours after the Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed in order to overcome a filibuster and to move the minimum wage bill forward.

The vote was 54-42 and mostly along party lines. Republican Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) voted “yes” with the Democrats.

However, Sen. Corker made clear that he does not support everything in the Democrats’ bill. He said that his vote with the Democrats was based on his belief that there needs to be a debate about how best to help Americans who are struggling.

President Obama and fellow Democrats have been pushing for the minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour.

They argue that raising the minimum wage will help to lift several low-income Americans out of poverty.

In response to the Senate’s failure to move the bill forward, President Obama said, “By preventing even a vote on this bill, they prevented a raise for 28 million hardworking Americans. They said no to helping millions work their way out of poverty.”

Republicans have argued that increasing the minimum wage would result in more job lost and that the focus should be on job creation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that the Senate’s vote last Wednesday was “proof” that the Democrats do not have a plan for job creation and that they were “playing politics.”

Tim Pawlenty, former Republican governor of Minnesota, told Politico that he agrees there should be a “reasonable” increase in the minimum wage but that the Democrat’s plan is not one he will support.

Due to push back from the congressional Republicans, President Obama has said that he will act where he can.

And in February, he issued an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour.

He has also gone on a Jobs Tour, where he has touted his plan to get states, businesses, and colleges to work together in order to train potential workers.

In February 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report on the effects of increasing the minimum wage to either $9.00 per hour or $10.10 per hour.

The CBO concluded that more low-wage workers’ income would increase under the $10.10 per hour wage.

However, the report also showed that less people, 100,000 would lose their jobs if the minimum wage was increased to $9.00 per hour compared to 500,000 people who would lose their jobs if the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 per hour.

The CBO further noted that there is approximately a 67% chance, under the $9.00 per hour minimum wage increase, that 200,000 people could lose their jobs; whereas there is a 67% chance that 1,000,000 people would lose their jobs if the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 per hour.

The American public generally supports increasing the minimum wage. However, the public’s support for increasing the minimum wage tends to drop when the chances increase that there will be more workers laid off.

A recent Reason-Rupe poll showed that when there is no risk of businesses laying off workers, then 67% of Americans support increasing the minimum wage compared to 32% who oppose it.

But when there is a chance that businesses will lay off workers, the number of those who support increasing the minimum wage is 39% compared to 58% who oppose it.

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