Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) appeared on ABC's "This Week" today where he expressed hope that an extension of unemployment benefits would not be included in the next budget deal and he opposed an increase in the federal minimum wage.
According to TalkingPointsMemo.com, Sen. Portman seemed surprised that Democrats would want to include an extension of unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans in the next budget deal.
"It's about $25 billion that no one was talking about, George, until the last week," stated. Sen. Portman. "So it's an additional cost within this budget agreement. I think the thought always was that it would be handled separately."
Sen. Portman also claimed that raising the minimum wage would cause job losses among young people, whom he claimed are the largest group of people earning minimum wage, noted ThinkProgress.org.
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"About two percent of Americans get paid the minimum wage of that group, it's a lot of young people," claimed Sen. Portman. "About 50 percent of them are between 16 and 24 years old. For a lot of them, it’s a part-time job. You don't want to raise the minimum wage to the point that you’re losing jobs."
"... If you raise the minimum wage too high, you’ll have not more jobs but fewer jobs and fewer opportunities for the young people," added Sen. Portman. "About half the people who get the minimum wage are between 16 and 24. I think the Republicans want to look at this through the context of how do you get the economy moving?"
However, in reality, young people between 16 and 24 are not the majority of minimum wage earners, as Republicans have claimed for years.
According to a Center for Economic and Policy Research study, the largest group of minimum wage earners are between the ages of 25 and 54. These folks make up 36 percent of minimum wage workers and quite often have families to support.
A recent study by the Center for American Progress found that "two decades' worth of minimum-wage increases in U.S. states clearly shows that the minimum wage has no impact on job creation during periods of high unemployment."