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Rep. Luke Messer says he's open to considering two-tiered, minimum-wage increase

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Rep. Luke Messer said Wednesday he is open to considering a two-tiered increase in the nation’s minimum wage.

The Indiana Republican said he recognizes that a person cannot lead a household on the minimum wage, but a proper balance must be struck between those individuals and the teenagers and college kids working their way through school.

“Maybe you take a look at giving college students and teens one wage and those who aren’t in those two categories a different wage,” Mr. Messer said on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal.” “I would at least be open to considering that.”

Entering the 2014 election year, President Obama and Democrats are putting a renewed emphasis on inequality, including raising the federal minimum wage, which now stands at $7.25 an hour.

Polls show a majority of Americans support an increase.

Mr. Messer said his biggest fear is that raising the minimum wage would wipe away jobs that otherwise would go to teenagers.

“That said, I do think it is fair to say that you can’t lead a household on the minimum wage,” he said. “If you were someone like my mother with two kids and trying to make ends meet at that wage, it just doesn’t work anymore. I recognize that when you look at real wages, the minimum wage is significantly lower than it was in the 1980s, for example.”

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