Minimum-wage bill will cover territories
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fending off charges of favoritism, House Democrats say a just-passed minimum wage bill will be changed to cover all U.S. territories -- including American Samoa -- before it reaches President Bush's desk.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters she has instructed the House Education and Labor Committee to help get the bill changed to "make sure that all of the territories have to comply with the U.S. law on minimum wage."
Her remark Friday followed accusations from Republicans a day earlier that American Samoa, which is not now covered by the 5.15 an hour federal minimum wage, was not included in the law raising the federal pay floor to 7.25 an hour because StarKist has a large cannery in the island chain. StarKist is owned by Del Monte Foods Co., which has its headquarters in San Francisco, Pelosi's district.
"Something is indeed fishy when the federal minimum wage is good for all Americans as espoused by the Democrat majority, yet we exempt a small, in many terms economically struggling island," Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., told colleagues on the House floor last week.
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