Time to ditch $7.25 minimum wage? Republicans weigh in

Stage set for GOP debate
Stage set for GOP debate   

It's been more than six years since Congress raised the federal minimum wage, while many states and some cities have taken the situation into their own hands and passed increases.

As the presidential race heats up, most Republican candidates have gone on record to discuss why they do not think now is the time to raise the federal minimum pay level higher than $7.25 per hour. A few other GOP hopefuls have disagreed and said now is the time to boost the level.

So where does each candidate stand on the contentious issue?

Here's a snapshot of their stances on the hot-button topic:

Donald Trump

"Now, I want to create jobs so that you don't have to worry about the minimum wage, they're doing a great job and they're making much more than the minimum wage," he said via phone on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" in August. "But I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country."

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

"We need to leave it to the private sector. I think state minimum wages are fine. The federal government shouldn't be doing this." he said during an event in March.

"The federal government doing this will make it harder and harder for the first rung of the ladder to be reached —particularly for young people, particularly for people that have less education," he said.

"Politically I'm sure it's a great sound bite but from an economic point of view, this is not how we need to be successful," he added.

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Ben Carson

In May, Carson told CNBC the minimum wage should "probably" be higher than it is now.

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Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

In June, Cruz appeared on PBS, detailing why he opposed raising the minimum wage to what is considered a living wage.

"Every time you raise the minimum wage, the people who are hurt the most is the most vulnerable," he said.

Cruz voted against a minimum wage increase proposal last year.

Carly Fiorina

"First, I believe that minimum wage should be a state decision, not a federal decision. Why? Because it makes no sense to say that the minimum wage in New York City is the same as the minimum wage in Mason City, Iowa," Fiorina said.

She stressed the importance of remembering that many minimum wage jobs are where people start and learn skills to advance in these positions.

"So we need to be honest about the consequences of raising a minimum wage too high. One of the consequences is that young people who are trapped in poor neighborhoods will have less opportunities to learn skills and move forward," Fiorina added.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

"What we need to do in this country is not have a debate over a higher minimum wage. We have to have a debate over creating better-paying middle-class jobs in this country," Christie said in a Fox News interview last year.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore

Gilmore does not support raising the minimum wage at this time.

South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham

During the recent CNN debate, Graham shared an anecdote about the potential negative consequences of raising the hourly minimum pay level.

He said increasing the minimum wage would have made it more difficult to hire additional employees at the bar and restaurant his parents owned.

"If you're a waitress out there wanting more money, I'm not going to increase the minimum wage," Graham said. "I'm going to try to create an environment where somebody else will open up a restaurant across the street to hire you away at a higher rate, or they'll have to pay you more to keep you."

Graham voted against a minimum wage increase proposal last year.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee

"Instead of fighting over the minimum wage, why don't we focus on solutions that help every American earn his or her maximum wage," he said in a campaign video.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Last year, Jindal said, "I think we can do better than a minimum wage economy."

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GOP front-runners neck-and-neck: Poll   

Ohio Gov. John Kasich

Speaking about the minimum wage debate, he said in September that any potential minimum wage increase should be "reasonable." He said management and labor should sit down and talk about what is an effective way to help workers.

Former N.Y. Gov. George Pataki

What people don't understand is when you raise the minimum wage, you increase the unemployment rate, he said during a Bloomberg TV interview in May.

"A simple solution sounds good. It gets you a headline. It gets you political cover, but it doesn't really solve the problem," he said in the interview.

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

"Hiking the minimum wage by a few dollars will not save the American dream; it will accelerate automation and outsourcing. Increasing taxes and regulations will not promote fairness or opportunity; it will snuff out innovation and crush small business," he wrote in a post on his campaign website.

Rubio voted against a minimum wage increase proposal last year.

Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum

Santorum's plan is to "increase the minimum wage by 50 cents per year for three years to bring it back in line with historical standards," according to a post on his campaign website.

Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul

Last April, Paul voted against a minimum wage increase proposal.

In an interview last year, Paul said, "It is a fact — an economic fact — that when you raise the minimum wage the people who are hurt the worst are minorities and kids."

Watch CNBC's "Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate" on Wednesday, October 28. The debate will feature two sets of candidates discussing critical issues facing America today, including job growth, taxes and the health of our economy. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET.