Interviews

Senate blocks bill to raise federal minimum wage

Reaction from Sen. Joe Manchin

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 30, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The president says hike. The Congressional Budget Office says watch a half-million jobs take a hike, so Senate Republicans just blocking a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

To West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who voted to advance that bill today.

Senator, good to have you back.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, D-W.VA.: Hey, Neil. Good to be with you.

CAVUTO: Where does this stand? I know Chuck Schumer was saying, we're going to keep trying it again and again and again. But what do you think?

MANCHIN: Well, Neil, you know, if we're serious about raising the minimum wage, I'm serious. I want to give people a raise.

I know about raising the minimum wage, you bring three million people off the food stamp rolls. That saves $4 billion a year. So, economically, it makes sense for our country. Next of all, people shouldn't work 40 hours and still be in poverty.

And you know what? My friends on the Republican side and my Democrat colleagues, we agree on that. But to agree on how you implement it and where it starts, I think is where the breakdown is. Can we get enough people in the middle to come together and say, we're going to raise it off of $7.25 and start moving it up and then let basically inflation take over to where it's adjusted and take it out of the political arena?

CAVUTO: Well, that would not be a bad idea, let it be adjusted to inflation. We can take this out of the whole, you know, political hot water here.

MANCHIN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But I do hear from a lot of CEOs, and not just like The Gap CEO type of -- they can afford this. They're a big organization.

MANCHIN: Sure.

CAVUTO: Even if you're a large multinational concern, it's one thing, but if you're running a mom-and-pop pizza shop in New York or in West Virginia, it's a whole different story. Right?

Why can't there be gradations of this? In other words, if we're going to do it, we even have different standards for different folks, different sized businesses. It seems to be with Harry Reid and all, it's all or nothing. Why?

MANCHIN: Well, Neil, here's the thing. Let me talk about my little state of West Virginia.

I'm proud of right now they voluntarily, the legislature and the governor voluntarily moved it from $7.25 to $8.75 over the next two years. So it will be a 75 cents increase next year and 75 cents after that.

If West Virginia can do it, then I'm sure that the rest of the country can do it. And I think some states have already done it.

CAVUTO: Well, no, but that's a big difference between West Virginian political leaders doing it and then businesses having to suck it up to do it.

MANCHIN: Well, basically, we...

CAVUTO: Well, you can bark out of the orders.

MANCHIN: But, Neil...

CAVUTO: If they don't have the -- if they have to cut back on personnel or not hire as many, then the reality for them is, they either automate their shops or they close their shops or they limit how many they are hiring for their shops. Right?

MANCHIN: But, Neil, you know, we have had the minimum wage raised under Republicans and Democrats.

CAVUTO: Absolutely. Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHIN: And you know what? It did not have the effect that we were told it was going to have if it's done in a responsible manner.

CAVUTO: But I think you came on this show not too long ago admitting this was an anemic recovery. And now I'm hearing -- not you, but from Democratic strategists, who say don't even use the word recovery.

So, is this the environment in which you want to be forcing businesses, who exactly aren't hiring gangbusters, to do more?

MANCHIN: Neil, let me just say this.

I'm talking to my friends on the Republican side, and I'm saying, can we find a pathway forward to give people a raise? Can we help? Can we find something that we can agree on and start moving? Right now, $10.10, it died. We don't have the votes for $10.10. One hundred percent of nothing is nothing.

Can we move something forward? Can we do it to where we don't have the job loss?

CAVUTO: Well, how about putting half that effort, Senator, into just finding jobs? Once they get in the door, then...

MANCHIN: Oh, I agree.

CAVUTO: ... we can debate finding them a higher wage or whatever.

But I think we kind of get it backwards. And no offense to you, but I think that we're really just pushing this higher rate for people to get at work when there's so many people starving to work.

MANCHIN: Neil, then on top of that, remember, we talked about the IRS giving bonuses to delinquent employees of the federal government of a million dollars.

CAVUTO: Right.

MANCHIN: It's just unbelievable, unbelievable.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, that is what makes me think that a lot you guys, not you, of course, might be a bit tone-deaf, so that you don't see the reality that a lot of small, medium, and large business guys tell me every day...

MANCHIN: Well, I'm a small business person.

CAVUTO: ... that this is a burden for them and maybe what the better part of valor for now would be to focus on getting people a wage and getting a job and then, then if things pick up, then we can talk about increasing it.

MANCHIN: Well, we have been -- Neil, the bottom line is things are moving forward, and basically prices are going up and we have got people getting further and further behind. But the bottom line is...

CAVUTO: Well, but we have got people further and further behind on not getting a job, right?

MANCHIN: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: You keep extending unemployment benefits. I mean, when you talk about hiking the wage, we can never get past go on this, right?

MANCHIN: Well, can we have a consideration with people coming into the work force for the first time? Should there be a consideration in a different rate for someone that is trying to raise a family on it and working full-time?

CAVUTO: Right.

MANCHIN: I think there's a proper way to move forward. We have just got to have the dialogue.

CAVUTO: So, you're open to a two-tiered rate?

MANCHIN: I'm open to...

CAVUTO: In other words, it's not all or nothing? OK.

MANCHIN: I'm open to everything, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

MANCHIN: I always have been.

I want to give people a raise, and get them off the minimum wage. And I want to do it in a responsible manner that we don't jeopardize losing their jobs.

CAVUTO: OK.

I want them to get jobs. And what I then say is, I will go with you, Senator.

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHIN: I think we both want -- we both...

CAVUTO: We will say, all right, now that you are in the door, we will talk about, if things pick up, giving you more once you are.

But we will see. Senator, it's always a pleasure, sir.

MANCHIN: Neil, thank you for having me.

CAVUTO: Senator Manchin, all right.

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