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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sen. Mitch McConnell said Friday that an increase in the minimum wage would mean a decrease in jobs.
The issue has become a key debate as McConnell tries to keep his job.
Sen. McConnell spoke to a small business in Jeffersontown to blast policies that he says are job killers.
He accepted the endorsement of the National Association of Independent Business and used the occasion to highlight his opposition to increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, calling it a job killer.
"Kentucky's got an unemployment rate above the national average. We've got a depression in the coal fields. Obamacare is destroying jobs right and left. We have a record number of part-time employees in our country as a result of Obamacare," said Sen. McConnell.
"The last thing, it seems to me, we ought to be doing is destroying jobs."
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has made the minimum wage hike a focus of her campaign, saying it will create jobs. She told an audience in Louisville earlier this month that the first thing she'll do as a U.S. Senator is put her name to a minimum wage hike.
"It will increase the wages of one-in-four Kentuckians, grow our gross domestic product and, most importantly, create over 2,200 good paying jobs," she told WDRB in an interview.
In a statement released following McConnell's comments, Grimes Senior Advisor Jonathan Hurst said, "It is shameful that Mitch McConnell has no problem voting to give himself taxpayer-funded pay raises, but declares a pay raise for hardworking Kentucky families, including 255,000 women, unworthy of his support."
Businessman Daniel Withrow disagrees. The McConnell supporter says he pays employees at his distribution company more than minimum wage.
But he says government mandates and regulations are causing him to re-think expansion.
"I'm opposed to it because I'm a business person. And I know if you force somebody to pay somebody more, then they're going to try to make do with less. I mean it's just simple arithmetic," Withrow said.
Sen. McConnell calls the minimum wage issue a Democrat distraction.
"They're trying to change the subject away from Obamacare, which we've just been talking about here, which is killing jobs right and left," he said.
Polls do show support for an increase in the minimum wage. But McConnell says he's concerned not about polls but right policy.