Mitt Romney has joined the ranks of prominent Republicans who support raising the federal minimum wage.
“Our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us,” Romney said on MSNBC’s program “Morning Joe” while explaining his support of the increase.
“I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it,” he said.
Romney’s comments come just a few days after his former presidential primary opponent Rick Santorum said he thought Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage was counterproductive.
“If the Republicans want to go out and say, 'We're against the minimum wage,' then go out and make the argument to the American public and 80-some percent of the American public believes we should have the minimum wage,” he said Monday on another MSNBC program, “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd." “Let's not make this argument that we're for the blue-collar guy but we're against any minimum-wage hike ever."
The federal minimum wage currently sits at $7.25 per hour, but President Barack Obama has urged Congress to increase the figure to $10.10, a proposal congressional Republicans have largely opposed up to this point, with Senate Republicans voting against the proposed legislations on April 30.
"Listen, I used to be an employer," Speaker of the House John Boehner said during a press conference in January shortly before the president issued an executive order to raise the minimum wage of federal contractors. "When you raise the cost of something, you get less of it.
"We've learned from minimum wage increases in the past that hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans have lost their jobs" due to minimum wage hikes, the speaker said.
Despite the opinions and consensus of Republican leader's such as Boehner, other conservative icons, such as Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, have also come out in support of increasing the minimum wage.
“Two-thirds of Americans want the minimum wage upped,” O’Reilly said on his program “The O’Reilly Factor" in January, concluding that “since only 6 percent of American workers get minimum wage, I say fine.”