Kaine and Pence spar over minimum wage during first debate

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Reaction is pouring in regarding a topic of discussion during Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate.

The minimum wage is a touchy topic and this year, there are two presidential candidates with two drastically different approaches.

Donald Trump’s ticket is calling an outright repeal of the federal minimum wage, while Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are calling to nearly double it, from $7.25 to $15 an hour.

“Donald Trump said wages are too high and both Donald Trump and Mike Pence think we ought to eliminate the federal minimum wage,” said Senator Tim Kaine during Tuesday night’s debate.

The topic took center stage at the vice presidential debate. Kaine took aim at Pence’s policies at home, in Indiana.

“Mike Pence, when he was in Congress, voted against raising the minimum wage above $5.15 and he has been a one-man bulwark against minimum wage increases in Indiana,” he said.

This is true. In 2007, Congressman Pence voted against raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. As Governor, last year, he signed a bill that repealed the 80-year-old, common construction wage law, a move that outraged many Hoosier construction workers.

“Raising the minimum wage would actually do the opposite of what it’s intended to,” said Barbara Quandt Underwood, the Indiana Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

The business community has long argued that raising the minimum wage would stifle job growth and smother small businesses.

“It’s very easy to say ‘oh, let’s raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour’ but then not consider the ramifications of doing something like that,” said Quandt Underwood.

“Just shows he’s done nothing to alleviate poverty in his own state,” said Rosie Bryant, a spokeswoman for Central Indiana Jobs with Justice.

So while Pence may still be opposed, for many Americans making minimum wage and living below the poverty line, a wage hike is a clear and simple solution.

“He’s dangerous. If you look at his track record in Indiana, he’s dangerous. He’s done nothing to alleviate poverty in Indiana,” said Bryant.

Both California and New York have passed laws that will gradually, over the next several years, increase their state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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