Obama urges Congress to raise the minimum wage

McClatchy Washington BureauFebruary 15, 2014 


U.S. President Barack Obama signs an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees on new contracts a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC


— In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Barack Obama renewed his call for lawmakers to pass a proposal to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 per hour by 2015.

"It would lift millions of Americans out of poverty, and help millions more work their way out of poverty -- without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending," Obama said. "It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend – and that means growing the economy for everyone."

This week, Obama signed an executive order to increase the minimum wage for employees involved in future government contracts as a way to lower turnover, boost morale and increase productivity.

"This will be good for contractors, for taxpayers, and for America's bottom line," Obama said.

The White House estimates it will impact hundreds of thousands, including those who serve food and wash dishes, clean laundry and buildings, and manufacture military uniforms.

Two million Americans work on federal contracts, according to a report by Demos, a public policy organization, though only some of them receive the minimum wage. A National Employment Law Project study found that about 75 percent of such workers earn less than $10 an hour.

In recent months, support for raising the minimum wage has increased, with some states and localities choosing to raise their own and a group of senators sending Obama a letter urging him to issue an executive order.

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