Hillary hints at support for $12 minimum wage
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMissing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani On The Money: Trump downplays urgency of China trade talks | Chinese negotiators cut US trip short in new setback | Trump sanctions Iran's national bank | Survey finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin lost the most factory jobs in past year Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate MORE hinted Thursday that she's supportive of legislation hiking the minimum wage to $12.

Clinton, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, has backed the concept of a wage hike on the campaign trail without specifying a figure — a reticence that's been criticized by her closest rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Krystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum MORE (I-Vt.), who's pushing for a $15 rate.

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But on Thursday, after meeting with leaders of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Clinton got as close as she's come to endorsing a specific level, hinting that a $12 minimum wage proposal sponsored by Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottNYC teacher suing DeVos over student loan forgiveness program House panel delays vote on surprise medical bills legislation Ten notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment MORE (D-Va.) might offer a viable path forward.

"Patty Murray is one of the most effective legislators in the Senate bar none, and whatever she advocates I pay a lot of attention to because she knows how to get it through the Congress," Clinton told reporters. "Let’s not just do it for the sake of having a higher number out there, but let’s actually get behind a proposal that has a chance of succeeding. And I have seen Patty over the years be able to do just that."

Earlier in the press conference, Clinton advocated an unspecified increase in the federal minimum wage — which has stood at $7.25 per hour since 2009 — and then allowing states and local governments to make adjustments as they see fit based on regional cost-of-living variations.

She also suggested the federal minimum wage should include automatic hikes linked to the broader economy — a provision included in both the Murray-Scott $12 legislation and Sanders's $15 proposal.

"It’s going to be important that we set a national minimum, but then we get out of the way of cities and states that believe that they can and should go higher," she said. "I’ve said before that the cost of living is different in various parts of the country. I supported what New York did, what L.A. did, what other cities are doing. And I think they should be experimenting with what that will do to raise incomes and create more opportunity for people.

"But there should be a higher federal level," she added, "so I’m going to be supporting the effort to do that in Congress."