President Obama in his weekly address on Saturday called on Congress to “to finish the job” and raise the minimum wage for all workers, days after he signed an executive order hiking salaries for federal contract employees.
The president said that “Congress needs to act” by approving a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 for all 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,” Obama said.
The president took the first step Wednesday, signing an executive order to raise the minimum wage for new federal contractors to $10.10, a number he said is “easy to remember: ten-ten.”
“This will be good for contractors, for taxpayers, and for America’s bottom line,” he said Saturday. “These are workers who serve our troops’ meals, wash their dishes, care for our veterans.”
Obama has recently touted a “pen and a phone” strategy that involves working around Congress when needed. But on Saturday he asked for Congress to do its part by extending the hike.
“It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend — and that means growing the economy for everyone,” Obama said.
Noting public support for a minimum wage increase, the president made a pitch for holding Congress accountable on the issue.
“You deserve to know where the people who represent you stand on this,” he said. “If they don’t support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, ask them ‘why not?’”
Six states have already passed laws raising minimum compensation in the last year, and more measures are in the works, Obama said.
The president has made reducing inequality and expanding economic opportunity a top priority for the year, labeling 2014 “a year of action” and pushing his “opportunity agenda.”
“We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just a fortunate few,” Obama said Saturday. “Let’s make opportunity easier to come by for every American who’s willing to work for it.”