Republican Congressman Steve King says the federal government should not have a minimum wage law.
“The federal government should have never been involved in setting wages. That’s not their business,” King says. “The wage agreement, the employment agreement, is a contract between an employer and an employee and they should be able to reach any kind of agreement they choose to.”
Congress established a 25-cents-an-hour national minimum wage in 1938. Democrats in D.C., including President Obama and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, argue congress should vote now to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by the middle of 2016.
“If there are to be minimum wages set, they should be set by the states,” King says. “The states know better. The states know whether it’s good or bad.”
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now have minimum wage rates that are above the national rate of $7.25 an hour. King points to a recent Congressional Budget Office report which concluded raising the national minimum wage to $10.10 could mean there’ll be half a million fewer jobs in the U.S.
“We need more people working, not less, and that’s what brings us out of this economic situation that we are in,” King says.
On Wednesday President Obama will be in New England to have a public event with four governors who support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 in their states. Earlier this year President Obama issued an executive order which calls for the higher, $10.10 minimum wage to be paid to government contract workers. King says Obama is violating the constitution, as that’s a decision for congress to make, not the president.
Jim Mowrer, King’s likely Democratic challenger in November, says that shows King “does not understand the struggles thousands of Iowa families are going through to make ends meet” because they’re working full time and earning the minimum wage — and living below the poverty line.
Photo courtesy of Congressman King’s office