Florida Sen. Marco Rubio admitted that people can’t live off jobs that pay only $10 or $11 per hour on Wednesday.
But the Republican presidential hopeful opposes raising the minimum wage. His solution, instead, is creating new jobs that pay more.
“I have the full confidence that the American private sector, made up of the most innovative and productive people on this planet, won’t just create millions of jobs,” Rubio said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. “They will create millions of jobs that pay more. Because even the jobs that are being created now don’t pay enough. You can’t live on $10 an hour. You can’t live on $11 an hour.”
Some Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, are now advocating for a $15 minimum wage. But Rubio has opposed lower wage increases in the past.
In 2014 he voted against raising the minimum wage to $10.10. He also opposed President Barack Obama’s proposal in 2013 for a $9 an hour minimum wage. The senator said then he doesn’t think increasing the minimum wage will help bring people out of poverty.
“I want people to make a lot more than $9,” he said in a 2013 interview on CBS. “Nine dollars is not enough. The problem is that you can’t do that by mandating it in the minimum wage laws. Minimum wage laws have never worked in terms of helping the middle class attain more prosperity.”
Advocates of a raise say boosting the minimum wage to $10.10 could help nearly 5 million people get out of poverty.
Seattle, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco have increased their minimum wages to $15 an hour through incremental increases, and New York state approved a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers in July.