White House Gives High Praise For Controversial Minimum Wage Bill

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President Barack Obama commended Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown for signing a minimum wage bill Wednesday after it was pushed through in a questionable way.

State Democrats did all they could to get the minimum wage measure passed into law, even bypassing a legislative review process in an unprecedented action that has been shunned by fellow lawmakers. Additionally, Brown only became committed to the policy after accepting a $100,000 union contribution, but the president praised her anyway.

“I commend the Oregon Legislature and Governor Kate Brown for taking action to raise their state’s minimum wage,” Obama declared in a statement. “These efforts will boost the paychecks of hardworking Americans and help support millions of workers trying to make ends meet.”

It has been standard practice for any measure that has at least a $50,000 impact be reviewed by the Ways and Means Committee. This measure will increase the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 by 2022 at an impact of millions of dollars. Nevertheless, Democratic leadership in the legislature decided to bypass the committee.

“Today, more than half of our states guarantee their workers a wage higher than the federal minimum,” the president continued. “That’s progress. But Congress needs to keep up with the rest of the country. They need to act, and finally give America a raise. And until they do, I’ll continue to encourage states, cities, counties and companies to act on their own to support hardworking families.”

The committee first reviewed a similar proposal earlier this year, and later released a report warning the proposal could negatively impact low-income individuals and cost the state significantly. As a result, the proposal failed to get passed.

Brown unveiled the plan Jan. 14, a week after accepting a $100,000 contribution from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — lawmakers could also be giving themselves a raise since a lot make below the proposed increase.

AFSCME has been an adamant supporter of increasing the minimum wage across the country, and also endorses the Raise the Wage Oregon campaign, which advocates for a $13.50 minimum wage. The proposal will also increase the Portland metro area wage floor to $15.52.

Brown and the White House did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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