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Pawlenty: Republicans should support raising the minimum wage

REUTERS/File/Brian Snyder
"For all the Republicans who come on and talk about, ‘we’re for the blue-collar worker, we’re for the working person,’ there are some basic things that we should be for. One of them is reasonable increases from time to time in the minimum wage," Pawlenty said.

WASHINGTON — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told MSNBC on Wednesday that Republicans should support raising the minimum wage.

"If you’re going to talk the talk about being for the middle class and the working person, if we have the minimum wage, it should be reasonably adjusted from time to time,” said Pawlenty, now the CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a bank lobbying firm.

"For all the Republicans who come on and talk about, ‘we’re for the blue-collar worker, we’re for the working person,’ there are some basic things that we should be for. One of them is reasonable increases from time to time in the minimum wage."

But Pawlenty later told Politico he doesn't support a U.S. Senate bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, saying it goes "too far and too fast."

The Senate is set to vote on that bill on Wednesday, but since Senate Republicans remain opposed, Democrats aren't expected to secure the 60 votes needed to break a procedural challenge. (The Hill has a good story today looking at the months of back-and-forth between Senate Democrats and Republicans on the minimum wage.)

As Minnesota governor, Pawlenty struck a deal with DFLers in the Legislature to raise the state's minimum wage by $1, to $6.15 an hour, in 2005. Two years later, he vetoed a wage hike to $7.75 an hour.

This session, under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota lawmakers increased the state minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2016.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.

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