Hillary Clinton on Thursday offered some support for a proposal in the Senate that would raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, hinting that the higher rate sought by labor unions doesn't have enough support.
Congressional Democratic leaders have backed legislation sponsored by Washington Sen. Patty Murray that would increase the rate to $12 an hour by 2020, which is several dollars less than the $15 backed by labor and anti-poverty activists.
"Whatever (Murray) advocates I pay a lot of attention to, because she knows how to get it through the Congress," Clinton said after meeting with labor leaders on Thursday. "Let's not just do it for the sake of having a higher number out there, but let's actually get behind a proposal that has a chance of succeeding."
While Clinton, a former senator from New York, may respect Murray's skills as a lawmaker, Republicans control both chambers of Congress and are largely united in their opposition to boosting the minimum wage.
Clinton's comments about the minimum wage come as Democratic presidential candidates are meeting with organized labor in recent weeks, seeking to lock down their endorsements. Labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union have organized the "Fight for $15" campaign in cities nationwide.
Two of Clinton's primary opponents, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, have both endorsed the higher wage.
Clinton has said she supports raising the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25, though she's yet to specifically say by how much. She has backed efforts by cities such as New York and San Francisco to set their own higher rates.
"It's going to be important that we set a national minimum, but then we get out of the way of cities and states that believe that they can and should go higher," Clinton said.
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