Democrats are rallying in support of one of the more progressive of new initiatives proposed by President Obama in his State of the Union address Tuesday, calling to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour.
“There’s a basic proposition that if you work full time and you work a hard job, you ought to be able to pay your bills,” said Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat from Vermont, on Jansing & Co. Wednesday. “And obviously with a seven dollar plus minimum wage that’s not working out.”
Republicans are already rejecting the idea, saying raising the minimum wage doesn’t help the middle class and hurts job creators.
“It’s not as though you can raise the minimum wage and have all problems in the economy vanish, but on the other hand, having a minimum wage where people work really hard and they can’t even pay for an apartment–that’s not a sustainable economy,” Welch argued.
The president also called for Congress to take action on gun control, although he did not say specifically what they should act on. But, he said, victims of gun violence deserve a vote.
Welch agrees, “With gun issues, they’re very tough politically but if we work together we can put something on the floor. What the American people are entitled to expect from Congress is that we vote, yes or no, on important issues that effect them. Then we can be held accountable.”
Welch called on the leadership to act.
“The bottom line here is, the congressional leaders ought to start working with each other, we have our own job to do. The president proposes, Congress disposes.”