President Barack Obama said in his weekly address that hardworking Americans deserve for Congress to bring the federal minimum wage up for a vote.
“Raising Americans’ wages isn’t just a good deed; it’s good business and good for our economy,” Obama said. “It helps reduce turnover, it boosts productivity, and it gives folks some more money to spend at local businesses.”
Raising the minimum wage was part of the to-do list that Obama outlined in his State of the Union Address, and he has since signed an order to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 for some federal contract workers.
When the Congressional Budget Office found this week that a federal minimum wage hike could cost up to 500,000 jobs once implemented, the White House pushed back and highlighted the same report’s findings that the wage hike would give 16.5 million workers a pay raise and lift 900,000 people out of poverty.
Obama said it’s now Congress’ turn to finish the job and blamed Republican lawmakers for opposing a vote on the minimum wage.
“Hardworking Americans deserve better than ‘no.’ Let’s tell Congress to say ‘yes,’” he said. “Pass that bill. Give America a raise. Because here in America, no one who works hard should have to live in poverty — and everyone who works hard should have a chance to get ahead.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.