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POLITICS: PennAve

White House: Minimum wage order will benefit 'couple hundred thousand' workers

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Labor,Entitlements,PennAve,Economy,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Minimum Wage

The White House on Thursday said that hundreds of thousands of people would benefit from a forthcoming executive order raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers.

President Obama announced he would sign that measure on Tuesday, one of a slew of executive actions he is taking to bypass Congress.

“We are still working on the executive orders, so we won't be able to give a specific estimate, our goal is to affect as many people as possible,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney aboard Air Force One, traveling with President Obama to an economic event in Wisconsin.

“Our best guess at this time is a couple hundred thousand will be covered,” Carney predicted.

“This is an estimate, however, because the decisions some contractors make will affect the number, and the data collected in this area is imprecise,” he cautioned.

Obama in his State of the Union address said that he was willing to work with lawmakers, but would press ahead using a “pen” and a “phone” where Capitol Hill failed to act.

One of theses executive actions will raise the minimum wage for new federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.

The president is also pushing Congress to pass legislation which would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 for all workers, but that bill has stalled in the GOP-controlled House.

Business groups and conservatives say that raising the minimum wage could threaten job creation as the economy struggles to recover.

Obama has framed the issue as a centerpiece of his push to bolster the middle class and fight income inequality.

At an event at a suburban-Maryland Costco on Wednesday, Obama said it was “time to give America a raise.”

“Everybody does better,” said Obama, of raising the minimum wage. “It could help a lot of Americans make ends meet.”

This story was published at 11:56 a.m. and has been updated.

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