Kaine Hits Trump on Minimum Wage in VP Debate

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By Chris Opfer

Oct. 5 — Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) criticized Donald Trump and running mate Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) during the vice presidential debate for their opposition to raising the federal minimum wage.

“Both Donald Trump and Mike Pence think we ought to eliminate the federal minimum wage,” Kaine said during the Oct. 4 debate with Pence. Kaine also said Pence has been “a one-man bulwark against minimum wages in Indiana” during his time as governor.

The exchange was prompted by a question about the candidates’ economic plans. Pence said Kaine and Hillary Clinton want to continue the policies of the Obama administration. “What you all just heard out there is more taxes, $2 trillion in more spending, more deficits, more debt, more government,” Pence said.

Clinton wants to raise the federal wage floor to $12 from $7.25 per hour and supports state and local efforts to go even higher. Trump has taken a number of contradictory positions on the issue, saying at different times that the minimum wage should be abolished, frozen and raised.

The debate was light on substantive labor and employment policy discussions. Kaine said he and Clinton want to fight pay discrimination, while Pence said he and Trump will seek to cut regulations and push trade deals that “put the American worker first.”

The debate occurred as several recent polls show Clinton leading Trump by anywhere from 3 to 6 percentage points among voters nationwide.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in Washington at copfer@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com

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