White Houses spokesman Jay Carney challenged top aides to Republican House leaders on Twitter Wednesday, objecting to their opposition to the administration's calls for an increase in the minimum wage.
The quarrel was largely between Carney and Rory Cooper, communications director to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Carney also brought Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) spokesman Brendan Buck into the debate.
Cooper initiated the exchange during Carney’s White House press briefing.
Cooper was referring to a statement Carney made at the briefing. A reporter asked Carney to react to a survey Cantor is pushing that suggests a minimum wage hike would cause 38 percent of employers that pay it now to lay people off to cover costs.
“It sounds like a little forum shopping for the survey he wanted and the report he wanted,” Carney replied. “What I can tell you is that overwhelmingly, economists say that the macro impact of raising the minimum wage does not affect job creation in a negative way.”
Carney responded to Cooper’s pushback.
.@rorycooper What does Rep. Cantor think the min wage should be? $5.15, as in 2007 when he voted NO to raising it? Lower? Zero?— Jay Carney (EOP) (@PressSec) March 19, 2014
Cooper then slammed ObamaCare, which he said cuts the workweek. Last month, Cantor claimed that incentives in ObamaCare lead people to work less, just 30 hours per week.
.@PressSec Thanks for conceding on the surveys. We'd like to restore 40 hr work week that Obamacare cuts by 25% (coincidentally your MW ask)— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) March 19, 2014
If Cantor wants to get rid of the minimum wage, Carney argued, he should make that clear.
“Simple answer. He wants to abolish ObamaCare rule causing problem you’re trying to hide. Do you think hours should be cut 25%?” Cooper replied.
Carney sharply shot back, noting that all Cantor wants to do is repeal the healthcare law.
.@rorycooper I get he wants to repeal ACA. Thanks for sharing. But why refuse to say what his position is on the minimum wage?— Jay Carney (EOP) (@PressSec) March 19, 2014
Carney then asked Buck if Boehner believed there should be a minimum wage.
Boehner voted against raising the minimum wage in 2007, Carney tweeted.
For those who don't know, @SpeakerBoehner also voted NO to raising the minimum wage when it was $5.15 an hour, in 2007.— Jay Carney (EOP) (@PressSec) March 19, 2014
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer jumped into the debate on Twitter and asked Buck if Boehner supported any level for the minimum wage.
Buck then asked, “If you really believe there aren't any costs to raising the wage, why not a $20 one?”
President Obama called on Congress to increase the minimum wage last year. House Republicans have largely opposed raising it to $10.10 an hour, which Democrats have been pushing.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid late last month decided to delay any action on legislation that would increase it to that amount. A Congressional Budget Office report had recently come out estimating that a minimum wage hike could cost the equivalent of 500,000 jobs by late 2016.