Mitt Romney, the former candidate for the presidency of the United States, broke away from his Republican peers Thursday morning by revealing that he believes the minimum wage should be raised. “Our party is all about more jobs and better pay,” said the former Massachusetts governor. “I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it.”
Romney’s remarks came after Republicans refused to vote on a Senate bill that could have made a minimum wage hike to $10.10. He was not the only Republican to support the notion of raising the minimum wage. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum both expressed their desire to see the minimum wage raised. Democrats are utilizing the issue of raising minimum wage to highlight income inequality and to gain support from the public in their effort to “close the gap.”
Romney also stated on “Morning Joe” that he has no intention of running for President in 2016. He did offer recommendations to his former running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan ,and to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. He also criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is poised to be the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 election. Romney stated that her time in the State Department will be an “enormous liability.” He went on to assert that her performance as Secretary of State revealed her lacking in leadership capacity, her four years in service were poor years for the United States abroad, and her record is an indication of her inability to “get things done.”
This is not the first time Romney has supported a minimum wage raise. During his service as Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007 he indicated that he was open to considering an increment in the minimum wage. He did the same during his first presidential run in the 2008 campaign, as well as in the 2012 campaign, although he did contradict his position later when he told MSNBC that “there’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.” The most recent polls demonstrate that both Democrats and a strong majority of Americans are in favor of a minimum wage hike, while Republicans are mostly divided on the subject. GOP lawmakers cited a recent Congressional Budget Office report that revealed a wage augmentation could lift approximately 900,000 people out of poverty, but could also eliminate 500,000 jobs.
Romney insisted that raising the minimum wage has its benefits outside of providing financial aid to thousands of struggling workers. He asserted that the Republican party needs to have a better outreach to Hispanic and African-American voters in order to be successful in upcoming elections. He insinuated a dissonance between what Republicans say they support and what they actually let pass. Romney criticized his party for calling themselves the party for the “blue-collar worker,” saying that if that were true, then they should be in favor of reasonably adjusting the minimum wage from time to time, as well as supporting other potential bills to support the working class.
By Andres Loubriel