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Statement of Senator John F. Kennedy on the Minimum Wage Conference

August 30, 1960

It is with regret that I must announce the failure of the House and Senate conferees to agree upon a reasonable minimum wage improvement program. I did everything within my power to achieve a reasonable compromise of the differences between the Senate and House bill. I supported an effort made by Senator Prouty, a Republican, to bring about a reasonable settlement. Unfortunately, Senator Prouty's efforts were not supported by his Republican colleagues, on either the Senate or the House side. These other Republicans refused to accept or work for the $1.25 minimum Senate bill or the much milder minimum wage legislation endorsed by President Eisenhower which was contained in the Prouty amendment.

While I naturally wanted to see the Senate version of the minimum wage bill enacted into law, I and the colleagues supporting me were willing to accept a reasonable compromise. We supported the legislation recommended by the administration. But we were unwilling to take a bill which provided only token improvements in the law. To accept the House bill would have constituted a deception to the millions of Americans who ask and deserve a much needed improvement in their economic lot.

I intend to take this fight to the American people. I am sure that they will support me in November in my goal of a minimum living standard of $1.25 an hour for millions of Americans who work in the large enterprises of our country.

John F. Kennedy, Statement of Senator John F. Kennedy on the Minimum Wage Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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