Obama Will Raise the Minimum Wage, but on a Small Scale

A new executive order increases the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for just several hundred thousand workers.

National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Add to Briefcase
Matt Vasilogambros
Jan. 28, 2014, 3:41 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama is plan­ning to uni­lat­er­ally go after one of the more pop­u­lar pro­pos­als in his State of the Uni­on: rais­ing the min­im­um wage, if only for a lim­ited num­ber of work­ers.

The pres­id­ent will sign an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der that raises the min­im­um wage for fed­er­al con­tract­ors from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, the White House an­nounced on Tues­day morn­ing, just hours be­fore the State of the Uni­on.

But here’s the catch: The ex­ec­ut­ive or­der will only af­fect sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand work­ers, as op­posed to the 21 mil­lion who would see their wages in­creased if Con­gress passed a full fed­er­al in­crease. The or­der be­ne­fits work­ers in the per­form­ing ser­vices and con­struc­tion, along with work­ers at mil­it­ary bases who work in dish-wash­ing, food ser­vice, and laun­dry.

Rais­ing the min­im­um wage is wildly pop­u­lar in the United States. A re­cent Pew poll shows that 73 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans are in fa­vor of rais­ing the fed­er­al min­im­um wage for all work­ers. And those num­bers are strong across party lines. Some 90 per­cent of Demo­crats sup­port the hike, along with 71 per­cent of in­de­pend­ents and 53 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans. An NBC News poll re­leased on Tues­day also shows that a ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans think the pres­id­ent’s pro­pos­al to in­crease the min­im­um wage should be a pri­or­ity this year.

In last year’s State of the Uni­on, the pres­id­ent pro­posed a bill to in­crease the min­im­um wage to $9 an hour. Pro­pos­als in Con­gress, however, have failed to gain any trac­tion, as many Re­pub­lic­an law­makers have ar­gued that a raise in the min­im­um wage would stifle busi­ness and hurt job cre­ation.

In an­noun­cing this latest ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tion, the White House still pro­moted a bill that would boost the fed­er­al min­im­um wage to $10.10 an hour, and said the pres­id­ent will work with Con­gress to get the bill passed. Wheth­er that can hap­pen is an­oth­er is­sue.

Pro­gress­ives in Con­gress have been pres­sur­ing the pres­id­ent to take ac­tion on the min­im­um wage uni­lat­er­ally for some time. Back in Decem­ber, Con­gres­sion­al Pro­gress­ive Caucus Co­chair­man Keith El­lis­on, a Min­nesota Demo­crat, hand-de­livered a let­ter to the pres­id­ent ask­ing him to sign an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der. It’s un­clear, however, if this latest ac­tion by the pres­id­ent will totally sat­is­fy the lib­er­al end of his base.

What is clear, though, is that the pres­id­ent is will­ing to by­pass Con­gress to go after some of his agenda items, at least on small scales. The pres­id­ent on Tues­day night is ex­pec­ted to an­nounce oth­er ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tions that will not re­quire con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al.

What We're Following See More »
PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
SHUT DOWN MISLEADING FALSEHOODS
Facebook To Cut Down On Govt-Sponsored Info Campaigns
7 hours ago
BREAKING

Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
11 hours ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
IN 2014
Pentagon Warned Flynn Not To Accept Foreign Payments
13 hours ago
BREAKING
WOULD PUSH DEADLINE TO MAY 5
One-Week Spending Bill On The Table
13 hours ago
BREAKING

Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login