Idaho Rep. Labrador opposes minimum wage increases

The congressman says he understands why advocates are pushing for pay increases for fast food and retail workers.


U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador at an April 2013 Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce forum.



    Extending federal unemployment benefits encourages people to remain out of work longer, says Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.

    The federal program provides an additional 14 to 47 weeks of benefits, depending on the state, for people who use up their 26 weeks of state-based benefits. The program was scaled back earlier this year, but some congressional Democrats are trying to extend it and make individuals eligible for up to 73 weeks of additional benefits, or 99 weeks total.

    “I think extending benefits will increase unemployment, not decrease it,” Labrador told reporters in a conference call. “I’ve talked to small employers who say they see too many people come through and apply for jobs they aren’t willing to take (just so they can continue to collect unemployment). The government needs to stop throwing money at problems.”

    William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune

In a conference call with reporters, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said raising minimum wages will hurt workers instead of helping them.

“You have people at entry level jobs that need to acquire the skills that are necessary so they can move up the food chain,” he told reporters in a conference call Dec. 9. “And if you make it more difficult for people to hire them at minimum wage, it’s impossible for them to actually gain those jobs and gain the experience they need so they can make more money in the future.”

Supporters of an increased minimum wage held rallies across the country the first week of December to raise awareness of the issue. Supporters say higher pay will help improve workers’ quality of life. Opponents say it will lead to job losses.

Read the full story at Boise State Public Radio.

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