Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The President wants to work with Congress to pass
the Harkin-Miller bill that would increase the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 per
hour, and index it to inflation thereafter, and he will continue to work with Congress
to get that done. The President has also looked at what he can do through executive
action to help raise wages for hardworking Americans.
In the State of the Union Address, the President will announce that he will use his
executive authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for those working on new
federal contracts for services.
Hardworking Americans – including janitors and construction workers –
working on new federal contracts will benefit from the Executive Order
(EO). This action will cover workers who are performing services or
construction and are getting paid less than $10.10 an hour. Some examples of
the hardworking people who would benefit from an EO include military base
workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry.
A higher minimum wage for federal contract workers will provide good
value for the federal government and hence good value for the taxpayer.
Boosting wages will lower turnover and increase morale, and will lead to higher
productivity overall. Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the
quality and efficiency of services provided to the government. When Maryland
passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was
an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can
help ensure better quality.
The wage increase will be manageable for contractors. The increase will
take effect for new contracts after the effective date of the order, so
contractors will have time to prepare and price their bids accordingly.
It has been seven years since Congress last acted to increase the minimum wage
and, adjusted for inflation, today the real value of minimum wage is roughly the same
as what it was in the 1950s, despite the fact that the typical American family’s
income has doubled since then. And right now a full-time minimum wage worker makes
$14,500 a year, which leaves too many families struggling to make ends meet. Even
after accounting for programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, a family of four
supported by a minimum wage worker still ends up living below the poverty line.
The President is using his executive authority to lead by example, and will continue to
work with Congress to finish the job for all Americans by passing the Harkin-Miller bill.
The bill would raise the Federal minimum wage for working Americans in stages to
$10.10 an hour and index it to inflation thereafter, while also raising the minimum
wage for tipped workers for the first time in over 20 years.