ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports:
Alaska Republican Joe Miller’s argument to Jon Karl that the federal government lacks the constitutional authority to impose a federal minimum wage was rejected by the Supreme Court back in 1941, and opposing it would put him in a distinct minority in Congress.
The minimum wage has found broad, bipartisan support in recent years, even if it has not been raised frequently or enough to satisfy some Democrats. A proposal to raise the federal minimum wage was the second bill introduced by Democrats and Nancy Pelosi when she became Speaker of the House. In the Senate that bill passed 94-3 in 2007. The wage was ultimately passed into law as part of a Defense Authorization with fewer votes, but still overwhelmingly.
But among outsider Republican candidates, objection to the minimum wage is more common. the tie that binds politicians who oppose the minimum wage is being new to politics and coming from a business management background.
Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican ophthalmologist in private practice and son of Libertarian Republican Texas Rep. Ron Paul, agrees that Congress can mandate a minimum wage, but he questions whether they should.
As Paul told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos back in May, “It's not a question of whether (the federal government) can or cannot. I think that's decided. I think the question you have to ask is whether or not when you set the minimum wage it may cause unemployment.”
Watch that interview here:
“The least skilled people in our society have more trouble getting work the higher you make the minimum wage,” Paul said then.
In Connecticut, the former WWE CEO, Linda McMahon, who is running for Senate, was quoted last week by a Connecticut paper as saying that she thinks people have benefited from the minimum wage, but maybe it ought to be lower than $7.25.
"The minimum wage now in our country, I think we've set that and a lot of people have benefited from it in our country, but I think we ought to review how much it ought to be, and whether or not we ought to have increases in the minimum wage," McMahon said at a press conference Sept. 30th.
Some states, like Alaska, have a minimum wage that is higher than the current rate of $7.25 per hour. The federal wage was stagnant at $5.15 per hour for ten years from 1998 to 2008.
The minimum wage is higher in both Connecticut ($8.25) and Alaska ($7.75) than it is at the federal level. In West Virginia, the wage is the federally mandated $7.25. But the Republican candidate there wants to get rid of the wage altogether.
“I profess that minimum wage be eliminated and we operate on the laws of supply and demand just like we did before the depression,' he added,” said John Raese, the wealthy businessman who is running for Senate in West Virginia, according to a Register-Herald write-up of a candidate forum in Beckley, West VA September 17th.
--Z. Byron Wolf