Pence, then a congressman, took to the House floor to explain why he opposed raising the minimum wage, which was then $5.15 an hour.
“A 41 percent increase in the minimum wage that is brought into the well of Congress without providing any relief to small business owners and family farmers is irresponsible and unwise,” he said. “It will harm both the wage payer and the wage earner. An excessive increase in the minimum wage will hurt the working poor.”
Raising the minimum wage is enormously popular with the American public. In a letter sent to Congress in 2014, over 600 economists noted “the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.”
The measure eventually passed the House 348 to 73 as part of a package on Iraq spending, according to The New York Times. The legislation included $4.84 billion in tax breaks for small businesses.
It’s not the only time Pence has blocked efforts to raise the minimum wage. In 2013, he signed a law blocking local governments in Indiana from requiring businesses to offer higher wages or benefits beyond those required by federal law, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana. In 2015, Pence also repealed a law that required construction companies working on publicly funded projects to pay a prevailing wage, which effectively set a wage floor to prevent different construction firms from cutting wages in an effort to lower their bids.
Pence’s running mate has changed his own position on the minimum wage repeatedly. Last year, he said he did not support raising the minimum wage, but he has also expressed an openness to raising it. Hillary Clinton has said she would sign a bill setting a $15 minimum wage ― though her position on the issue hasn’t always been so clear.