Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Enquirer Cover Cranley/Chabot views on Minimum Wage

Cranley: Chabot wage vote a GOP ploy

Rep. Steve Chabot apparently can't win on the issue of raising the minimum wage.

If he had voted against the measure that passed the House Saturday, his Democratic opponent, John Cranley, would likely have taken him to task.

As it turned out, he voted for it - and, Monday, Cranley still took him to task.

Chabot's vote was part of a Republican election-year ploy, Cranley said Monday.

But Chabot's chief of staff said the congressman was able to vote for the increase because the bill also contained safeguards that would help small businesses deal with the higher wages.

"This is not an issue that should be tinkered with in political stunts like we have seen in Washington last week,'' Cranley said Monday at the Vernon Manor Hotel, with Democratic campaign strategist James Carville at his side.

Carville was the main attraction at a fundraising event Monday for Cranley's bid to unseat the six-term Republican from Westwood.

Chabot was one of 230 House members to vote Saturday for a bill that would raise the minimum wage in 70-cent steps from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour by the middle of 2009.

The bill, which appears to have little chance of passing the Senate, would also cut the estate taxes - a position Chabot has consistently advocated.

House Republicans have blocked minimum-wage-increase proposals in recent years, but, last week, about 50 House Republicans who are facing difficult re-election campaigns asked the House GOP leadership for a vote on the increase.

Gary Lindgren, Chabot's chief of staff, said Chabot voted for the bill because it contained tax credits for small businesses and tax deductions for higher education expenses. Cranley said that if he is elected, he would vote for a minimum-wage increase "in a clean, straight up-or-down vote,'' without tying it to other issues.

Last week, the AFL-CIO staged a demonstration outside Chabot's downtown office to draw attention to the Westwood Republican's prior opposition to minimum-wage increases.

Cranley produced a copy Monday of a June 30 letter Chabot sent to a constituent in which the congressman said he has "serious reservations'' about Congress involving itself in the minimum-wage issue.

"While, on the surface, it might sound like a nice idea, a forced increase in the minimum wage could prove harmful to those who would purportedly be helped,'' Chabot wrote.


At 10:43 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chabot is ridiculous. He'll say he's against raising the minimum wage because people will lose their jobs, but if he can give a few rich folks another tax break, jobless they will be!


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