The Northern Marianas Delegate, Gregorio Kilili Sablan, says the CNMI's minimum wage should be increased by another 50 cents in 2012 as required by U.S. law, but he is open to supporting a delay in another hike the year after, if warranted.
Mr Sablan's position on the minimum wage increase is supported by some CNMI lawmakers, who were also interviewed yesterday.
But some of those who testified at a hearing in Washington, D.C., including Interior Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta, called for a further postponement in the wage hike, both in the CNMI and American Samoa.
The U.S. president, Barack Obama, had signed in October 2010 a law to postpone the minimum wage increase in September 2011, but that the minimum wage hike will resume in September 2012.
If he hadn't signed the law, the CNMI's minimum wage would now be at US$5.55 an hour.
A 2007 federal law requires a yearly 50-cent increase in the CNMI's and American Samoa's minimum wage, until it reaches the federal wage floor of US$7.25 an hour.