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House GOP shoots down minimum wage proposal

February 13, 2013|By Michael A. Memoli
  • House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), at the Republican Party headquarters on Capitol Hill, speaks in front of a countdown clock to March 1, when automatic spending cuts will take effect if an alternative is not found.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), at the Republican Party headquarters… (Chip Somodevilla / Getty…)

WASHINGTON – House Republicans on Wednesday shot down President Obama’s 12-hour-old proposal to raise the minimum wage.

House Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters that the president’s call to raise the federal minimum wage $1.75 an hour would only exacerbate the nation’s employment challenge.

“When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it,” the Ohio Republican told reporters Wednesday morning. “At a time when the American people are still asking the question ‘Where are the jobs?’, why would we want to make it harder for small employers to hire people?”

Boehner pointed to his 11 siblings who are “on every rung of the economic ladder,” saying he understands the issue “as much as anybody in this town.”

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“A lot of people who are being paid the minimum wage are being paid that because they come to the workforce with no skills, and this makes it harder for them to acquire the skills they need in order to climb that ladder successfully,” he said.

The Republican leadership began a post-State of the Union news conference by once again calling on the White House and Senate Democrats to put forward a plan to avert the automatic spending cuts set to take effect March 1.

The House leaders pointed to two separate sequester alternatives that passed in the chamber in the previous Congress.

“We’ve played our cards. We’ve laid out our hand,” Boehner said. “It’s time for the Senate to do its job.”

Republicans debuted yet another new Twitter hashtag, #Obamaquester, to continue to pin the blame on the president for the looming reductions. On a more practical level, Boehner said a letter was sent to congressional offices detailing how the cuts would impact them so they can begin to prepare.

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