Fulfilling a promise made in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Wednesday to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.
Obama is scheduled to sign the order at a White House event on Wednesday afternoon.
The order will increase the paychecks of about 300,000 government workers — which critics point out is a small percentage of the more than 2 million federal contractors.
But the president has framed the move as a way to spur Congress to increase the federal hourly minimum wage for all workers from $7.25 to $10.10.
Indeed, Obama’s Organizing for Action group is running television ads to support the idea
"President Obama is urging Congress to give America a raise," the ad says.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Deputy Chief Economist J.D. Foster, and others, however, have argued that raising the minimum wage will actually result in a loss of jobs.
About 1.6 million workers in the United States earned the federal minimum wage of $7.25, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest figures, from 2012. About 2 million people earned wages below the federal minimum.
Timed to go along with Obama’s order, the Council of Economic Advisers is expected to release a new analysis that shows that raising the minimum wage will benefit the economy — and won't kill jobs.
Raising the wage would increase incomes for an estimated 12 million Americans now living in poverty, according to an advance copy of the economic report. Two million of those people would be lifted out of poverty, the report claimed.
According to the report, 64 studies of minimum wage increases also found “no discernable effect on employment.”
Wages will increase to $10.10 an hour on new contracts beginning Jan. 1, 2015, the White House said.
— Kristen Welker and Jeff Black
First published February 12 2014, 3:02 AM