by John Hawkins | January 12, 2007 10:15 am
Now this is exactly the sort of thing that the Republicans should be doing: brutally and effectively hammering the Democrats for hypocrisy:
“House Republicans yesterday declared “something fishy” about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.
“I am shocked,” said Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and his party’s chief deputy whip, noting that Mrs. Pelosi campaigned heavily on promises of honest government. “Now we find out that she is exempting hometown companies from minimum wage. This is exactly the hypocrisy and double talk that we have come to expect from the Democrats.”
On Wednesday, the House voted to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.
The bill also extends for the first time the federal minimum wage to the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. However, it exempts American Samoa, another Pacific island territory that would become the only U.S. territory not subject to federal minimum-wage laws.
One of the biggest opponents of the federal minimum wage in Samoa is StarKist Tuna, which owns one of the two packing plants that together employ more than 5,000 Samoans, or nearly 75 percent of the island’s work force. StarKist’s parent company, Del Monte Corp., has headquarters in San Francisco, which is represented by Mrs. Pelosi. The other plant belongs to California-based Chicken of the Sea.
“There’s something fishy going on here,” said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina Republican.
During the House debate yesterday on stem-cell research, Mr. McHenry raised a parliamentary inquiry as to whether an amendment could be offered that would exempt American Samoa from stem-cell research, “just as it was for the minimum-wage bill.”
A clearly perturbed Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who was presiding, cut off Mr. McHenry and shouted, “No, it would not be.”
“So, the chair is saying I may not offer an amendment exempting American Samoa?” Mr. McHenry pressed.
“The gentleman is making a speech and will sustain,” Mr. Frank shouted as he slammed his large wooden gavel against the rostrum.”
Ha ha ha! That’s funny stuff — but, not to all those Samoan workers making minimum wage. They’re getting screwed out of a minimum wage increase just because their employer has juice with the speaker. You know, we heard a lot about a “culture of corruption” in the run-up to the election. Well, this may not be illegal, but what is it if not corruption? The same law that everyone else across the country has to follow isn’t being applied to a specific group of people solely because their support is important to a powerful politician. Pelosi should be ashamed, but you don’t rise as high as she has in the Democratic Party if you can still feel shame over your actions.
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