One of the top issues in American politics today is the minimum wage. To raise or not to raise, that is the question. Though the majority of the American people have made their voice heard on the topic, the Republican Speaker of the House doesn't agree.
During his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama took a hard stance on the minimum wage, proposing an increase to $10.10/hr, aligning himself with over 600 economist who have been making the same push. According to the newest Quinnipiac poll released in January, 72 percent of the American people support an increase in the minimum wage, including 52 percent of registered Republicans. While more than half of his own party supports the increase, Speaker Boehner is still dead set against a clean up or down vote on the bill.
“I’ll commit suicide before I vote on a clean minimum wage bill."
Following his interview with the Weekly Standard, Boehner, then the head of the House Republican Conference, was overruled by President Bill Clinton who singed into law an increase in the federal minimum wage from $4.25/hr to $5.15/hr. The only time Boehner agreed to vote for a minimum wage increase was in 2006 when the bill also included heavy cuts to the estate tax that Boehner knew would never get through the Senate.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last week that gave mix signals on the result of raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hr. The report found that the increase could lead to a loss of around 500,000 jobs, but also lift a million people out of poverty. Most of the those jobs would be expected to be cut from companies who are struggling and only make ends meet by paying their workers low wages. As likely consumers have more money to spend, demand in the economy would be expected to increase which would follow with an increase in hiring by employers.
Will John Boehner ever cave to bring a clean up or down bill to the House floor? The most recent polls suggest that he would be a good idea, but not if his life is on the line.