In his weekly address released by the White House in Washington D.C. on Saturday U.S. President Barack Obama called for Congress to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in order to build a stronger economy and to allow people working hard to earn a fair living wage.
In making his economic case for a raise in the nation’s minimum wage, President Obama remarked, “The average worker who would get a raise if Congress acts is about 35 years old. Most lower-wage jobs are held by women. And raising the minimum wage wouldn’t just raise their wages; its effect would lift wages for about 28 million Americans. 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. It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend – and that means growing the economy for everyone.”
The President noted that since his first call for Congress to raise the minimum wage six states have raised their minimum wages while many states, counties, cities and even some companies are moving towards a raise in minimum wages as well.
Adjusted for inflation, the present federal minimum is 20% lower than it was 33 years ago, Obama noted.
On Wednesday President Obama signed an Executive Order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour with yearly increases tied to inflation thereafter. Wage increases do not start until January 2015.
Although the Republican leadership within the U.S. House of Representatives is presently unwilling to place a minimum wage bill on the floor for a vote, the U.S. Senate is presently working on a bill to raise the minimum wage up to $10.10 per hour. According to the Los Angeles Times, Democrats are planning on trying to force a vote in the House of Representatives, though they will need support from at least 18 republicans through a discharge petition.
In closing, the President urged people to contact their senators and representatives in order to find out where they stand on the issue.
“You deserve to know where the people who represent you stand on this,” Obama said. He continued, “If they don’t support raising the federal minimum wage to ten-ten an hour, ask them ‘why not?’ The opponents of raising folks’ wages have deployed the same old arguments for years, and time and again, they’ve been proven wrong. Let’s prove them wrong again, and give America a raise. Let’s make opportunity easier to come by for every American who’s willing to work for it."