Gomez, Markey Both Support Hiking Minimum Wage to $10 an Hour

by Katrina Trinko

In their second Massachusetts Senate debate, Gabriel Gomez and Representative Ed Markey further highlighted their differences – but also found some surprising common ground.

Both would support raising the national minimum wage to $10 an hour, although Gomez noted he didn’t see making $10 an hour as being the American Dream (Markey said he agreed). Both strongly supported the Paycheck Fairness Act: Let’s end “era of discrimination against women that has plagued our country for generations,” Markey said, adding that paycheck fairness was at the “heart of it.” Gomez agreed, saying, “I think it’s a disgrace that we even have to have an act that makes women equal with men.” He added: ”I served in the military with amazing women,” and “they bleed just like the men do.” Gomez continued that he hoped the SEALs would allow women by the time his daughters were old enough to consider joining.

The two didn’t see eye-to-eye on tax reform, with Gomez being adamant he wouldn’t set “preconditions” so that he was free to negotiate. Markey, in contrast, was adamant he would never accept a deal that eliminated the home-mortgage-interest deduction. Furthermore, he spoke out in support of a tax system that “that takes a bigger bite out of Apple,” a corporation that’s been under criticism lately for the amount of taxes it pays.

Gomez stressed that he was a “green Republican” who believed in climate change and the idea that humans were at least partially responsible. But he was adamant that he supported the Keystone pipeline, and criticized Markey for being unable to discern effective green projects from ineffective, costly ones. “He thinks that every green project is a good project,” Gomez said of Markey, singling out Solyndra.

But after saying that Republicans denied climate change, Gomez called out Democrats for denying math. Markey responded that when it came to the budget, “It’s really not math. It’s just arithmetic.”

Gomez harshly criticized Markey’s long tenure in D.C., which began when he was elected to the House in 1976. “You are Washington, D.C., and you own the national debt, sir,” he said. Meanwhile, Markey railed against the tea-party faction in D.C., saying he was fighting against them, at one point referring to them as “these people.”

On gun control, Gomez reiterated his support for the Toomey-Manchin background-check legislation, noting that “the NRA hated” it. “I’m ashamed that only 4 Republicans voted for it,” he said. Markey said he also supported an assault-weapons bans and pledged, if elected, to work to make the NRA “not relevant anymore.”

Asked about the filibuster, Markey lamented the current system, but praised Rand Paul for actually standing and talking during his time controlling the floor in March. (Gomez boasted that he could beat Paul’s record and stand longer, nothing that his SEAL training had forced him to learn how to not use the bathroom for extended periods.) Gomez, however, expressed concern over how long it was taking to confirm judicial nominees.

There will be one more debate before the June 25 election.