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Clinton Muddles Position On $15 Hourly Minimum Wage…Again

- April 16, 2016

IN AN INTERVIEW POSTED THIS MORNING, CLINTON DENIED SHE SUPPORTS A FEDERAL $15 HOURLY MINIMUM WAGE, ONLY SUPPORTING SUCH EFFORTS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

In An Interview Earlier Today, Clinton Denied Support For A Federal $15 Minimum Wage. REPORTER: "One more thing, on the $15 dollars minimum an hour wage, I didn't think you supported that federally, but last night seemed like you said you do support that as a federal minimum wage?" CLINTON: "No, I support the $15 minimum wage where ever it can be passed in the state and local governments, but when I was asked 'if a democratic congress passed it, would I sign it,' of course the answer is yes. Our problem is, if we still have a Republican congress, we've got to get an increase from where we are, which is $7.25 an hour, and we've got to get to where I think it can be attracting Republican support, namely $12, but I want everyone to go above that if they can to get to $15." REPORTER: "So when his new ad, out today, says 'politicians getting $200,000 for a speech and then they don't support $15 an hour minimum wage,' you say that doesn't apply to you?" CLINTON: "That doesn't apply to me." ( Interview With ABC New York, 4/16/16)

Click To Watch

But In Thursday's Debate, Clinton Said She Never Opposed A $15 Hourly Minimum Wage, Would Sign A Bill Creating One As President, Setting Off A Tense Exchange

But On Thursday Night, Clinton Said She Would Sign A $15 An Hour Minimum Wage Bill If She Were Presented With One As President. WOLF BLITZER: "You stood on the stage with Governor Cuomo in support of new legislation to raise New York's minimum wage to $15 an hour, but you do not support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. As president, if a democratic congress put a $15 minimum wage bill on your desk, would you sign it?" HILLARY CLINTON: "Of course I would. I have supported the 'fight for 15.' I'm proud to have the endorsement of most of the unions that have led the 'fight for 15.' I was proud to stand on the stage with Governor Cuomo, with SEIU, and others who have been leading this, and I will work as hard as I can to raise the minimum wage. I always have. I supported that when I was in the senate, but what I have also said is we've got to be smart about it. Just the way Governor Cuomo was here in New York. If you look at it, we moved more quickly to 15 in New York City, more deliberately toward 12, 12.50, upstate, then to 15. That is exactly my position of the it's a model for the nation. That's what I will do as president. Go as quickly as possible to get to 15." (Hillary Clinton, Democratic Debate, Brooklyn, New York, 4/14/16)

Click To Watch

Sen. Bernie Sanders Immediately Called Clinton Out For Shifting Her Position, Saying Clinton Has "Confused A Lot Of People" With Her Past Position For A $12 Minimum Wage, Leading To A Contentious Exchange. BLITZER: "Thank you." SANDERS: "I am sure a lot of people are very surprised to learn that you supported raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour." CLINTON: "No, wait a minute, wait a minute." SANDERS: "That's just not accurate." CLINTON: "I have stood on the debate stage with Senator Sanders eight prior times. I have said the exact same thing." BLITZER: "Senator, please." CLINTON: "If we can raise it to 15 in New York or Los Angeles or Seattle let's do it." BLITZER: "If you're both screaming at each other, the viewers won't be able to hear either of you, so please don't talk over each other." SANDERS: "I was just responding." BLITZER: "Go ahead." SANDERS: "When this campaign began, I said that we got to end this starvation minimum wage of seven and quarter and raise it to $15. Secretary Clinton said let's raise it to $12. There's a difference and by the way, what has happened is history has outpaced Secretary Clinton, because all over this country people are standing up and they're saying $12 is not good enough, we need $15 an hour. BLITZER: "Go ahead, Secretary. Secretary?" SANDERS: "And suddenly, to suddenly announce now that you're for 15, I don't think is quite accurate." BLITZER: "All right, Secretary?" CLINTON: "All right. I have said from the very beginning that I supported the 'fight for 15.' I supported those on the front lines of the fight for -- it happens to be true. I also -- I supported the 15 effort in L.A. I supported it in Seattle. I supported it for the fast-food workers in New York. The minimum wage at the national level right now is $7.25, right? We want to raise it higher than it ever has been, but we also have to recognize some states and some cities will go higher, and I support that. I have taken my cue from the Democrats in the senate, led by Senator Patty Murray and others like my good friend Kirsten Gillibrand, who has said we will set a national level of $12, and then urge any place that can go above it to go above it. Going from $7.25 to is it $12 is a huge difference. Thirty five million people will get a raise. One in four working mothers will get a raise. I want to get something done and I think setting the goal to get to $12 is the way to go, encouraging others to get to $15, but if we have a democratic congress, we will go to $15." BLITZER: "Senator, go ahead." SEN. SANDERS: "I think the secretary has confused a lot of people. I don't know how your there for the 'fight for 15,' when you say you want a $12 an hour national minimum wage. Now, in fact there is an effort, Patty Murray has introduced legislation for $12 minimum wage, that's good. I introduced legislation for $15 an hour minimum wage, which is better and ultimately what we have got to determine is after a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the ton tenth of 1%, when millions of people are working longer hours I think we have to be clear, not equivocate, $15 an hour minimum wage in 50 states in this country as soon as possible." (Hillary Clinton, Democratic Debate, Brooklyn, New York, 4/14/16)

LAST YEAR, WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE MINIMUM WAGE, CLINTON INVOKED AN ECONOMIST'S SUBSTANTIVE CASE AGAINST A $15 MINIMUM WAGE AS REASON SHE COULD NOT SUPPORT IT

During A November 2015 Debate, Clinton Cited Alan Krueger's Hesitance On $15 An Hour Minimum Wage As A Reason She Would Not Support A Federal Minimum Wage Higher Than $12 An Hour. CLINTON: "But I do take what Alan Krueger said seriously. He is the foremost expert in our country on the minimum wage, and what its effects are. And the overall message is that it doesn't result in job loss. However, what Alan Krueger said in the piece you're referring to is that if we went to $15, there are no international comparisons. That is why I support a $12 national federal minimum wage. That is what the Democrats in the Senate have put forward as a proposal. But I do believe that is a minimum. And places like Seattle, like Los Angeles, like New York City, they can go higher. It's what happened in Governor O'Malley's state. There was a minimum wage at the state level, and some places went higher." (Hillary Clinton, Democrat Debate, Des Moines, Iowa, 11/14/15)

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  • In November 2015 Townhall, Clinton Also Referenced Alan Krueger's Hesitance Towards A $15 Minimum Wage As The Reason She Supports The $12 Level. QUESTIONER: "In terms of what raising the minimum wage will do to the economy of American and working jobs, but I'd like to hear from you think." CLINTON: "Well first of all I'm glad your daughters involved in it because it is an important movement because I know what Johnson County is done and I know you're going to be moving over the next few years and raising it and, I know that other parts of Iowa have looked at it some are considering it favorably others are not, but the key is we've got to raise the federal minimum wage so we have a higher floor. And, that will then enable communities like Johnson County to go higher, if that is your decision, but at least we will get a minimum and in looking at this and talking with a lot of economists and a lot of members of Congress, I favor a twelve12 dollars an hour minimum wage at the federal level and the reason is that would be that would be setting it at a level that would be equivalent to the point in our history where the minimum wage was at its highest and in inflation adjusted terms that was in 1968, and I do however believe that other communities that want to go higher than fifteen should be able to do so I've supported L.A. going-to fifteen Seattle going-to fifteen New York for some workers in New York City going to fifteen, but Alan Krueger, the economist at Princeton, a progressive economist and he is probably the leading expert on the minimum wage just wrote a column a few weeks ago saying that he was very comfortable going to twelve, but not going higher because there were no international comparisons that gave him the confidence to believe that it wouldn't cause job loss in this location if it were higher because I know that there's legislation introduced in the senate for twelve dollars by the Democrats and I know Patty Murray is the lead proponent and she's a good friend of mine and she's a great Senator." (Hillary Clinton, Townhall In Coraville Iowa, 11/3/15)

Clinton Has Invoked Alan Krueger's New York Times Op-Ed As Why She Would Not Support A Federal Minimum Wage Higher Than $12 An Hour. "That's where Krueger comes back in. Last month, he published an op-ed in the New York Times saying an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour could 'risk undesirable and unintended consequences.' The reason? There is, Krueger said, 'no international comparison' for an increase of that magnitude. We would be sailing into the unknown. 'Although some high-wage cities and states could probably absorb a $15 an hour minimum wage with little or no job loss, it is far from clear the same could be said for every state, city and town in the United States,' he added. Clinton said Krueger's position is why she supports a $12 an hour minimum wage. 'I do take what Alan Krueger said seriously,' she noted, adding that-like Krueger-she supported efforts by individual states and cities to raise their minimum wage." (Helaine Olen, "Hillary Clinton Was Right In That Minimum Wage Fight And Her Rivals Were Wrong," Slate, 11/15/15)

  • Alan Krueger For The New York Times: "A $15-An-Hour National Minimum Wage Would Put Us In Uncharted Waters, And Risk Undesirable And Unintended Consequences." "Research suggests that a minimum wage set as high as $12 an hour will do more good than harm for low-wage workers, but a $15-an-hour national minimum wage would put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences." (Alan Krueger, Op-Ed, "The Minimum Wage: How Much Is Too Much?" The New York Times , 10/9/15)

EARLY IN THE CAMPAIGN, CLINTON WAS "TACITLY DISMISSING" A $15 MINIMUM HOURLY MINIMUM WAGE, BUT NEVER EXPLICITLY OPPOSED IT

In July 2015, Clinton Endorsed A $12 An Hour Minimum Wage, "Tacitly Dismissing" Sen. Bernie Sanders Call For $15. "Fresh off a meeting with national labor leaders, Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday spoke favorably about legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, tacitly dismissing proposals by her two leading Democratic competitors who have called for a bigger increase." (Nicholas Fandos, "Hillary Clinton Speaks Favorably About $12 Minimum Wage," The New York Times , 7/30/15)

Buzzfeed Headline: "Hillary Clinton Declines To Support A National $15 Minimum Wage." (Kyle Blaine, "Hillary Clinton Declines To Support A National $15 Minimum Wage,"Buzzfeed, 7/16/15)

Clinton Explained That A $15 Minimum Wage "May Not Make Sense For Less Dense Areas With Lower Costs Of Living." "Clinton has said previously that a $15 minimum wage, which is fast becoming a reality in pricy cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, may not make sense for less dense areas with lower costs of living." (Dave Jamieson, "Hillary Clinton Voices Support For $12 Minimum Wage, But Balks At $15,"Huffington Post, 7/30/15)

Clinton Called $12 An Hour A Proposal That "Actually Has A Chance Of Succeeding." " 'Let's not just do it for the sake of having a higher number out there,' she said. 'But let's get behind a proposal that actually has a chance of succeeding.'" (Nicholas Fandos, "Hillary Clinton Speaks Favorably About $12 Minimum Wage," The New York Times , 7/30/15)


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