The Republican presidential race has developed its own intraparty economic wedge issue: minimum wage increases.
Mitt Romney would prefer to peg the hourly rate to inflation, so it rises automatically when prices do.
But Newt Gingrich claims that policy — which Romney’s supported since his term as Massachusetts governor — would contribute to unemployment by constantly raising payroll costs.
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney renewed his support Wednesday for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position sharply at odds with traditional GOP business allies, conservatives and the party's senior lawmakers.
"I haven't changed my thoughts on that," the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade.
He did not say if he would ask Congress to approve the change if he wins the White House this fall.
"My view has been to allow the minimum wage to rise with the [Consumer Price Index] or with another index so that it adjusts automatically over time," Romney responded, according to a video shot by a staffer at the National Employment Law Project Action Fund, which advocates for a higher minimum wage. "I already indicated that when I was governor of Massachusetts, and that’s my view."
Mitt Romney's position on the minimum wage has some on the right sounding the alarm about his candidacy--and it could expose a dangerous fault line between Romney and some of the Republican Party's most reliable backers.
Romney said last week that he supports regular increases in the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position he took as a candidate for president in 2008. Six years before that, as a candidate for Massachusetts governor, Romney supported linking automatic increases in the state's minimum wage to inflation. "I haven't changed my thoughts on that," he told reporters.