Biden signals support for $15 minimum wage

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Vice President Biden on Thursday praised New York Gov. Andrew Cumo’s push for a statewide $15 minimum wage, calling for a “decent, living wage.”

He said Cuomo’s call for phasing in a statewide $15 minimum wage for all industries by 2021 was a “smart, reasonable plan.”

{mosads}“You’re going to make every single governor in every state in America look at themselves. It’s going to have a profound impact,” Biden said to Cuomo at the Javits Center in New York City. 

The vice president’s comments come as he considers entering the 2016 White House race. Calls for the $15 minimum wage could be popular with liberal voters in Democratic primaries.

Cuomo, a Democrat, announced Thursday that the state Department of Labor had accepted his state wage board’s recommendation for raising fast-food workers’ wages to $15 an hour.

He and Biden rallied for New York to become the first state in the country to adopt the $15 minimum wage. Several cities, such as Los Angeles and Seattle, have adopted plans to reach that level.

“There’s one big missing piece in this, one that Barack and I are determined to put in place before we leave,” Biden said during his remarks while speaking of the U.S. economy. 

“Before we make this resurgence permanent, we need to address the single biggest issue facing not just individuals but our economy, and that’s stagnant wages,” Biden said. 

The vice president was road testing his economic message in the backyard of Hillary Clinton, a former New York senator and secretary of State who he is considering challenging in 2016.

Clinton, who has backed the idea of a higher minimum wage on the campaign trail, hinted earlier this summer that she supported legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $12. She supported raising the New York minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 earlier this summer. 

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have both come out in support of a $15 minimum wage.  

Biden on Thursday touted the White House’s push for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12, while many liberals on and off Capitol Hill have supported a higher $15 rate.

“In this last presidential campaign, where Barack and I were campaigning, the only thing that really bothered me about the opposition was there was this … notion that somehow, ordinary folks just … didn’t have the capacity to do what they could do,” Biden said Thursday, hearkening back to the 2012 election against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. 

“Over the last six and a half years, our economy has gone from crisis to recovery and we’re now … on the cusp of a real resurgence. We’re in a better position than any nation in the world to lead the world economy in the 21st century,” Biden said. 

Cuomo, who endorsed Clinton almost immediately after she announced her White House bid in April, said last week that Biden in the Democratic race would be “good” for Democrats.

“He is here today because he is all about this country’s working families. He understands their needs intellectually and he feels their plight emotionally,” Cuomo said of Biden on Thursday.

Tags Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton

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