By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Protesters showed up outside Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s Center City office to call on him to support minimum wage legislation, and other measures to help working folks.
A coalition of advocacy groups, including “Working America” and “For Pennsylvania’s Future” contends Senator Toomey’s position on the minimum wage is out of touch.
“Absolutely, the minimum wage could be the tipping issue in the senate election.”
David Scholnick of “For Pennsylvania’s Future” is among the groups pushing to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“You have candidate who is standing with the voters — 75 percent of whom want a higher minimum wage — and another candidate who is not paying attention to voters. That’s Pat Toomey.”
Toomey’s democratic challenger, Katie McGinty, points out Toomey has voted against increasing the minimum wage four separate times.
Jim Gardler, Secretary/Treasurer of the Philadelphia Council of the AFL-CIO, says Toomey has voted 12 times against extending unemployment benefits.
“We need to have a senator in office who is going to do their job, looking out for the people in this state.”
Senator Toomey has said in the past he “does not support government policy that puts hundreds of thousands of people out of work.” The federal minimum wage has remained frozen at $7.25 an hour since 2009.
During the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton proposed raising it to $12, while Bernie Sanders stood firm at $15, and she later amended her position to a $15 per hour federal minimum wage, with stipulations in areas with lower costs of living.
Senator Toomey’s office released the following statement on the issue: ‘Pat Toomey supports pro-growth policies that boost wages across the middle-class and create more jobs. That’s why even President Obama hailed Pat’s bipartisan legislation to help small businesses grow and hire more workers. Katie McGinty’s big government approach could destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs according to nonpartisan studies.’
The minimum wage in Pennsylvania reflects the federally required level — $7.25 per hour, like 20 other states. Governor Wolf proposed raising it to $10.10 last year. New Jersey’s is $8.38, indexed annually to the Consumer Price Index. Delaware’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. They are among more than half of the states which have raised it higher than the federal level.