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July 25, 2013

Progressive group calls on White House to pay its interns

The Campaign For America's Future is pressing the White House to begin paying its interns, saying it would give more credibility to President Obama's push for a minimum wage.

Said Robert Borosage, co-director of the campaign, administration officials "should start by cleaning up their own house."

Obama said Wednesday he plans to continue pushing for a hike in the minimum wage "because it's lower right now than it was when Ronald Reagan took office."

The campaign is promoting the call with an online petition. Borosage said the Obama administration didn't start the unpaid internship. "In fact, every administration since Kennedy has relied on unpaid labor of well-connected and well off young people," the group said in a release.

Borosage argues that the intership puts "many on a fast track to leadership, but if unpaid, it is open largely to the children of the affluent."

Most federal government internships, including Congress and the White House, are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and can be unpaid.

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