Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said Democratic proponents of raising the minimum wage are encouraging President Obama to act “boldly” on the issue even if it means bypassing Congress.
There’s a chance that Obama could threaten or even announce an executive order in his Jan. 28 State of the Union speech, which is expected to focus heavily on income inequality.
Ryan told MSNBC that he thinks “at some point” Obama will move forward with executive action, “because it’s going to reframe the argument, it’s going to bring the argument to the forefront of the national debate.”
“We’re going to be stuck in the House. There’s no way John Boehner’s going to bring up a minimum wage bill although my colleague mentioned in the last segment, you know, President Bush and other than moderate — now we see as moderate — Republicans were saying, ‘Hey, this is something that we need to do.’ So I think it can help reframe the debate, cast it front and center for us to have this national discussion.”
The congressman said the discussion “is going to be about family values. That’s what the minimum wage is about.” But he also called it an issue for midterm elections.
“That’s why I think the president has to act and he has to act boldly. And then we’ve got to obviously use this as an issue throughout this year and see how it plays in the fall and we’ve got to energize the base,” Ryan said.
“I think we all agree there’s got to be a way to slowly put this in place. We don’t want to drop it on a business person tomorrow morning,” he added, stressing they have to put a focus on the “level of unfairness, unfairness if you work 30 or 40 hours a week and you’re still living in poverty.”
“That’s not the American way. That’s not the American dream,” Ryan said. “If you work hard, you play the rules, you live a good and decent life, you raise your family properly, you work hard. You should not live in poverty in the United States with the wealthiest country and the history of this planet by far. And this is a small, small ask I think, and the economy will adjust and we’ll continue to move forward.”