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Brown, Rubio trade barbs over ‘dignity of work’ as Brown mulls presidential bid

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) traded barbs Thursday over Brown's "dignity of work" mantra.

The feud came as Brown, who is said to be considering a presidential bid, continues his "Dignity of Work" tour that began in Cleveland and will take him to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada - four critical early primary states.

"For all work to have dignity, we must: Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Ensure workers are paid the overtime they earn. Pass equal pay for equal work laws. Make it easier for workers to join a union," Brown tweeted Thursday morning.

"True dignity of work isn't achieved by just using government to command that low-paying jobs get more pay & benefits," Rubio responded shortly after.

"It is achieved by having policies that promote the creation of private sector jobs where the workers increased productivity results in higher wages & benefits," he added.

"Actually the dignity of work is about busting myths like this one," Brown replied.

"Truth is people are working harder and producing more-but wages haven't kept up. Their hard work is making corporations rich. Workers have earned a raise & dignity of work is achieved by making sure they get it," he continued.

The tangle extended to Friday morning, with Rubio claiming that wage growth had fallen because profits were "wasted on foreign labor & financial engineering instead of investment & innovation."

"·@SherrodBrown wage growth has fallen behind corporate profits, but not because profits come at expense of wages. It's because profits wasted on foreign labor & financial engineering instead of investment & innovation," Rubio said Friday morning. "Not just wages are stagnant, business investment also stagnant."

Brown slammed Rubio's criticism, citing the GOP tax plan passed in 2017 that Democrats have criticized as primarily benefitting wealthier individuals.

"The #GOPTaxScam didn't promote investment and innovation? I wish someone would have warned us," he tweeted.

Brown's "Dignity of Work" agenda aims to raise the minimum wage and strengthen labor laws, among other provisions.

Brown, who is expected to announce his 2020 intentions in the coming weeks, is expected to try and appeal to progressives and blue-collar voters.

He has expressed skepticism about newer progressive proposals, such as "Medicare for all" and the "Green New Deal."

Brown has increasingly been seen as a presidential candidate since his successful reelection in November, when he easily won another term in a state that voted for President Trump in 2016. He is viewed as a Democrat who could win over states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania that Democrats lost in 2016.

Updated: 2:31 p.m.

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