Most congressional supporters of increasing the minimum wage do not pay their interns any salary at all, according to a study by the Employment Policies Institute, The Daily Caller reports.
A recent EPI survey
found that that 96 percent of the 210 sponsors of the 2013 Fair Minimum Wage Act do not compensate their own interns.
The bill would phase in a hike in the current federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour in three increments of 95 cents, amounting to about $15,000 a year for fulltime workers at that rate.
The EPI study noted that neither Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both strong supporters of the legislation, pay their interns, as is the case with most members of Congress.
"To cavalierly call for a $10.10 minimum wage while the vast majority do not pay their interns
, shows that they are talking out of both sides of their mouth and are not living up to the same standards they expect of others," said Michael Saltsman, research director for the fiscally conservative Washington think tank.
Of the 35 senators that pay their interns, 11 are Democrats, the Daily Caller reports.
According to the Congressional Research Office
, internships on Capitol Hill and in district offices are mostly unpaid and are intended to provide young high school and college students with work experience.
"If you created a situation where you all of sudden had to pay for interns, there would be fewer intern positions available," Saltsman said. "A lot of folks up in Congress don't seem to realize that the same dynamic applies in the private sector. If you raise the cost of hiring employees, there are going to be fewer opportunities available for workers."
Conservative Republicans make the same argument and accuse Democrats of using the issue to draw attention away from the problems of Obamacare and make GOP lawmakers "look like they are out of touch with the middle-class people," as the Daily Caller put it.
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