GOP dismisses Obama’s proposals on wages, education

Leadership says plans will hinder creation of jobs

WASHINGTON — President Obama called Tuesday for a higher minimum wage and stricter gun laws, proposed making preschool available to all 4-year-olds, and asked Congress to rewrite US immigration law.

On Wednesday, Republicans in Congress made clear that little of it will happen.


House Speaker John A. Boehner, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, and rank-and-file Republicans opposed many of the details Obama set out in his second-term agenda in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. They signaled that the political fights of the past aren’t over yet.

Boehner dismissed the president’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage. Republicans also gave a negative response to Obama’s call for new legislation to curb greenhouse-gas emissions that scientists say drives global warming.

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‘‘When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it,’’ Boehner, Republican of Ohio, told reporters at a news conference Wednesday in Washington. ‘‘Why do we want to make it harder for small employers to hire people?’’

Obama proposed raising the hourly federal minimum wage to its highest inflation-adjusted value since 1981, under President Ronald Reagan, according to a White House fact sheet.

Obama’s speech was a ‘‘go-through-the motions laundry list of things’’ he’d ‘‘like to do,’’ said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the chamber’s Republican leadership.


‘‘Minimum wage won’t pass the House, climate-change won’t pass the House,’’ Thune said. ‘‘Those are things he would probably have a hard time getting a lot of Democrats to vote for.’’

The same is true for Obama’s call for guaranteeing preschool programs for all 4-year-olds, he said.

‘‘How do you pay for it?’’ he said. By saying the programs would not ‘‘add a single dime to the deficit’’ Obama is expecting Congress to raise taxes ‘‘to finance all these new programs,’’ he said.

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