Pelosi: Minimum wage will be 2014 issue

Feb. 22, 2013 at 2:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Democrats plan to make raising the minimum wage an issue in the 2014 campaign, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

Pelosi said Democrats will use the same message as they did in 2006, when they took control of the House after 12 years of Republican control, The Washington Post reported Friday.

"Just keep it simple," Pelosi said in an interview with the Post. "We want to raise the minimum wage, and you don't. Why not?"

Pelosi said she would prefer that congressional Republicans agree to raise the minimum wage before it becomes a campaign issue. She said it would be a difficult matter for them to deal with in the campaign.

"There's an even greater awareness now than there was six years ago about the disparity of income in our country -- and that this disparity is not a healthy thing for a family or an economy," she said. "Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do, but it's a popular thing to do as well."

President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour from the current $7.25. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, rejected the suggestion, saying it will destroy low-wage jobs because "when you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it."

Pelosi said available research does not support that position. She said people at the bottom of the income scale worsen the federal deficit because they rely more than other workers on safety net government assistance -- so the government effectively subsidizes their employers.

"When taxpayers are subsidizing low wages, people should be aware of that," she said.

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