WASHINGTON - State Democrats are saying Republican U.S. Reps. David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito voted against a bill that would raise the national minimum wage, while the lawmakers believe the vote was a bit of political maneuvering to make certain people look bad.
Jacob Winowich, executive director of the West Virginia Democratic Party, said Monday Capito and McKinley voted down a measure to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over three years.
"Congressional members Capito and McKinley have taken a page from John Raese's playbook claiming hardworking West Virginians do not deserve a fair wage for an honest days work," he said. "Capito and McKinley who make $174,000 a year are clearly unwilling to help hard working West Virginians.
''The very people that bag their groceries, prepare their meals at the local restaurants, and got them elected apparently don't do enough to warrant a livable wage.''
The state's only Democratic representative, Nick Rahall, voted for it, Winowich said.
Jim Forbes, director of communications for McKinley's office, said Friday's vote was a procedural vote aimed at trapping Republicans and some moderate Democrats to vote against it.
Capito, in a statement released by her office Monday, said she has had a record of working across party lines to support a minimum wage that is fair both for workers and for small businesses. The vote was done before anyone could look at the long-term effects and impacts this might have on the nation's economy.
''In 2006, I voted for bipartisan legislation that passed the House that would have increased the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour,'' she said. ''When that legislation failed to become law, I voted twice in 2007 to increase the minimum wage.
''On both of those 2007 votes, the House worked together in a bipartisan way, with the final vote increasing the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour garnering 348 bipartisan votes in the House.''
Capito said Friday's vote on a procedural motion offered by Democrats was nothing more than "political theatre."
''President Obama proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 in his state of the union address,'' Capito said. ''Before a single hearing was held to consider the potential impact of that increase on small businesses, House Democrats offered a motion that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.''
Capito stood by her past record and said she will support balanced increases in the minimum wage that help West Virginia workers.
''I believe we should at least consider the impact of a proposed 39 percent increase in the minimum wage on small businesses before acting, especially given the tax increases, increased regulatory burden, and added costs that will impact small businesses later this year as a result of Obamacare,'' she said. ''For that reason I voted against Friday's procedural motion, but will consider future efforts to increase the minimum wage.''