This week saw New York, along with California, pass bills to raise the minimum wage across the states to $15 per hour. The landmark bill brings New York and California’s minimum wage rate to the highest in the country, with Hillary Clinton appearing in New York with the state’s governor to welcome the bill. However, Clinton’s decision to appear alongside New York governor Andrew Cuomo in order to celebrate the win was one met with a good deal of criticism, considering the presidential candidate’s previous lack of support for the new minimum wage.
As reported by Fox News, Monday saw both New York and California act to bring their statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour. During her appearance alongside the governor of New York when the bill was passed, Hillary Clinton voiced her support for the new minimum wage. She told supporters that “It’s a result of what is best about New York and what is best about America. And I know that it’s going to sweep our country.”
However, Clinton, who was a New York senator between 2001 and 2009, was met with criticism over her decision to now support the bill. According to Gawker, as recently as October last year, Clinton had called for the minimum wage to be raised to a maximum of $12 per hour.
The majority of criticism towards Hillary Clinton’s support of the minimum wage bill in New York came from Bernie Sanders’ campaign. A spokesman for the Sanders campaign, Michael Briggs was heavily critical of Clinton’s shift in policy, saying “It’s the same rhetorical shifting we’ve seen from her on other issues like fracking and offshore oil drilling and what to do about climate change and the Keystone Pipeline and trade deals.” However, Hillary Clinton’s campaign team met the criticism by pointing to her record as one of New York’s senators, where she consistently backed bills to raise the minimum wage across the country.
Bernie Sanders was said to be pleased about the raise the minimum wage has seen in California and New York. However, he pointed out that the job wasn’t finished and his campaign wouldn’t stop until every worker in the country was able to take advantage of a living wage.
The minimum wage in California currently sits at $10 per hour, and $9 respectively in the state of New York. Those states are already two of the highest paying states in the country, and contrast greatly to the minimum wage offered in many southern states, including Texas’ $7.25 per hour. The severe difference in minimum wage across the United States appears to be largely as a result of the party controlling that state. For example, Democrat-dominated states like New York and California have consistently opted to raise the minimum wage, whilst Republican states have taken a different approach in keeping their minimum wage fairly low.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 5, 2016
Aside from the GOP, the new $15 minimum wage has faced opposition from a number of key business figures. Tom Scott who is the executive director of California’s National Federation of Independent Business, has said that the new minimum wage will have “devastating impacts on small businesses in California.”
The minimum wage debate has been a huge part of the Democratic primary process for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Many will see Hillary Clinton’s appearance in New York in order to endorse the bill likely comes as an attempt by her campaign to win back support from left-leaning Bernie Sanders voters. As the state for which she was a senator, it’ll be incredibly important for Hillary Clinton to pick up New York when it hosts its Democratic primary election on April 19.
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