Boehner Stands Behind 'Suicide Threat' Over Minimum Wage

Image: Boehner Stands Behind 'Suicide Threat' Over Minimum Wage

Friday, 21 Feb 2014 11:34 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Speaker John Boehner once declared that he would rather kill himself than vote for a "clean" minimum wage bill — and following the Congressional Budget Office's recent report that an increase could cost up to 1 million jobs, it's highly unlikely he'll do himself in anytime soon, The Hill reported.

Democrats have their fingers crossed that the Ohio Republican,  who made the "suicide threat" two decades ago, will finally have a change of heart this year and allow a vote on a House bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.75 an hour to $10.10 — a 40 percent increase.

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The CBO has calculated that if the rate is raised to that level over the next three years for 16.5 million Americans, it could result in the loss of around 500,000 jobs — and possibly as many as a million — with major employers cutting back on staff to afford the wage hikes.

Former Ohio Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican who is still close to Boehner, said the speaker has "always believed that it's a job killer" and the CBO report has just fueled his fears.

Boehner made his eye-opening remark to The Weekly Standard in 1996 when he was the head of the House Republican Conference. "I'll commit suicide before I vote on a clean minimum-wage bill," the Ohio Republican stated.

And while President Barack Obama called on Congress to give America a raise in his State of the Union address, as far as Boehner is concerned nothing is going to change when wage legislation comes up in the House in the next few weeks.

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, said, "John and House Republicans right now see Obamacare and the economy as being the No. 1 issues. I think it would be very, very difficult, if not impossible, for John to schedule a clean up-or-down vote on a minimum wage bill.

"There's no hiding it, John just believes it's bad economic policy. [Boehner] is a guy that is very fond about talking about growing up in a bar and starting work at a young age."

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