President to Issue Executive Order on Minimum Wage for New Federal Workers

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(CNN) — While President Barack Obama’s attempts to increase the nation’s minimum wage through legislation have stalled in Congress, the White House announced plans on Tuesday to use the president’s executive powers to partially address the problem.

Just hours before the President is scheduled to deliver his fifth State of the Union address, the White House revealed that Obama will issue an executive order to increase the minimum wage for new federal contract workers.

The action will cover all workers employed under future government contracts, ensuring that none is paid less than $10.10 an hour. In a fact sheet announcing the action, the White House highlighted several occupations that will be helped by the move, including kitchen and laundry workers on military bases, as well as janitors at federal buildings and construction workers at government building sites.

“The President has embraced the idea in the past that he can use his authority as President and the powers available to the President to advance his agenda on behalf of the American people,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at his briefing on Monday. “What we have said is that he views 2014 as a year of action and that he has tasked his team to come up with new ways in which we can — he can — advance that agenda.”

An administration official confirmed the action will apply only to new contracts, and the White House believes contractors will have time to factor the new wage requirements into future bids.

Included in Tuesday’s announcement was a call for Congress to pass an increase in the minimum wage nationwide and an endorsement of a proposal put forward by two senior Democrats, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Rep. George Miller of California. The proposal would raise the minimum wage for all workers in stages, ultimately reaching $10.10 an hour, while also indexing the wage floor to inflation going forward.

Obama has made wages and economic inequality a central theme of his second term in office, raising the issue repeatedly, including during a call for an extension of emergency unemployment benefits in his first public event of 2014.

“America is getting stronger, and we’ve made progress,” the President said. “And the economy is growing, and we’ve got to do more to make sure that all Americans share in that growth. We’ve got to help our businesses create more jobs. We’ve got to make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families rebuild a little security. In other words, we’ve got to make sure that this recovery leaves nobody behind. And we’ve got a lot of work to do on that front.”

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • Wolfenxxx

    Jug Head is at it again.
    If your out-go exceeds your in-come then your up-keep becomes your down–fall. Already trillions in the whole, oh just spend more, knucklehead!
    Guess who gets to foot the bill for this en-devour as well? that’s right you and I…

    Who said this nitwit wasn’t a socialist?

  • skillpot

    The $10.10 may sound good to many, but why is it necessary for the government to do this, when High Society should be making the move? But, of course, if you can keep a person down, you can control them, and the end result keeps putting more, and more at the mercy of other organizations, like now, in need in this weather we are experiencing! Now, do not get me wrong, I do not support anything Obama stands for!

  • Happy

    I think that is commendable for the President to raise wage standards. The article clearly implied that it would be on all future contracts resulting in more wages for workers and less in the pockets of the executives. It’s not more government spending…. its just legislation on how the money that is already being given in federal contracts is allocated.

    • Wake Up

      Not all government employees will get the increase. Only federal contract employees on future contracts. This is all he can do without Congressional approval. He would give the raise to all government employees, but the Republican controlled House of Representatives would not pass an overall raise for government employees! If non-government workers don’t like the fact that the President is caring enough to give some of his employees more, you need to ask your employer why they do not care as much about you!!

  • Deborah

    Every time the minimum wage goes up, so do prices! It doesn’t help anyone. Just like most of this country’s part time workers have been knocked down to 29 hours to escape giving them health insurance. The fine is cheaper.

    • Wake Up

      Deborah, prices have gone up even when minimum wage has not increased. The best research in this area was conducted by Card and Kruegar, the Princeton Study, shows that the increase in minimum wage does not cause any more price increases than normally occurs in a free-market. It also documents that a minimum wage increase does not negatively impact jobs. President Clinton raised the minimum wage twice when his administration created the greatest economic times in recent history — with very low inflation (price increases)! Some live in the word of facts — others live in the world of Fox News!

      • Branko Pezdi

        Reply to James Part 1:

        The economics expert enlightens us again. The Kruegar and Card study was debunked not only by other economists and economic think tanks, including the liberal Economic Policy Institute, but subsequently by the authors themselves!! MOST (in the literal dictionary definition sense of the term) economists believe that government-imposed minimum wage laws increase unemployment, for low skilled, unexperienced workers in particular. This really is intutitively obvious. One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired. When you turn from economic principles to hard facts, the case against minimum wage laws is even stronger. Countries with minimum wage laws almost invariably have higher rates of unemployment than countries without minimum wage laws. Most nations today have minimum wage laws, but they have not always had them. Unemployment rates have been very much lower in places and times when there were no minimum wage laws. Switzerland has no minimum wage law and its unemployment rate is the lowest by far in the EU, on the order of 3%. The last time the U.S. had no minimum wage law, during the Coolidge administration, unemployment was as low as 1.8%. When Hong Kong was a British colony it had no minimum wage law and its unemployment rate in 1991 was 2%. Etc, etc, get the picture yet?

      • Branko Pezdi

        Reply to James, Part 2:

        There is nothing mysterious about the fact that most people start off in entry level jobs that pay much less than they will earn after they get some work experience. But, when minimum wage levels are set without regard to their initial productivity, young people are disproportionately unemployed — priced out of jobs. In European welfare states where minimum wages, and mandated job benefits to be paid for by employers, are more generous than in the United States, unemployment rates for younger workers are often 20 percent or higher, even when there is no recession. Minorities, like young people, can also be priced out of jobs. In the United States, the last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate — 1930 — was also the last year when there was no federal minimum wage law.
        Minimum wage laws are a classic example of liberal “compassion” for the poor, “compassion” that only causes harm. Combine this with liberal propaganda and brainwashing and the result is a permanent underclass groveling for tidbits from its liberal masters.

      • Wake Up

        Reply to Bob (or whatever name you are now using), Part 1 (I only need one part):

        I have not seen any criticism or disowning of the Princeton Study except from those that do not like what they found. All your “rebuttal” is opinion and not supported with any research. You are only using the same tired old talking points from the conservative economic think tanks. Those countries that you mentioned do not need a minimum wage and have lower unemployment because they are already treating their workers better since they are more socialist in their attitudes concerning worker treatment and compensation.

        I would be interested in your revisionist history concerning the impact when President Clinton raised minimum wage while creating the best economic outcome, without inflation and high unemployment, in recent history. You can make that your part 3!

      • Branko Pezdi

        To James:

        I’m not Bob.

        The fact that you can’t do basic research is your problem not anyone else’s. Both the EPI and the National Bureau of Economic Research, among many other independent economic analysts, debunked the Kruegar Card study. Fully 90% of economists believe that minimum wage laws increase unemployment. These are facts that have nothing to do with ideology. In fact, where ideology rears its ugly head is with the K-C study, where the two self-admitted liberal economists shoehorned their conclusions into a flawed methodology and actual misreading of the data AND LATER ADMITTED IT. The fact that the Reagan recovery continued for 25 years through the Clinton and most of the GWB administrations is completely irrelevant here; the booming economy had nothing to do with minimum wage, and in fact black teenage unemployment remained stubbornly high during this entire period. Minimum wage laws harm the MOST and YOUNGEST of the underprivileged (for whatever reason they’re underprivileged) people in society; what is so hard to grasp about this intuitive fact? Only 2% of people over age 24 earn minimum wage (look it up). Minimum wage laws, in fact, have even been used for racial discrimination, not only in the U.S. but in other countries such as Canada, Australia, and South Africa. In South Africa, during the era of apartheid, white labor unions urged that a minimum wage law be applied to all races, to keep black workers from taking jobs away from white unionized workers by working for less than the union pay scale. Some supporters of the first federal minimum wage law in the United States — the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — used exactly the same rationale, citing the fact that Southern construction companies, using non-union black workers, were able to come north and under-bid construction companies using unionized white labor. Don’t preach to me about ideology, pal, when you are the ideologue who essentially claims that 2+2=5 because it feels good. Liberals such as yourself are content to advocate policies that sound good, whether for political reasons or just to feel good about yourself, but you seldom bother to think through the consequences beforehand, or to check the results afterwards.

      • Ron B

        What about all the skilled workers that are making just above a proposed minimum wage? Companies are too cheap to give everyone a raise so why would someone who spent money on education or certifications not take a mindless task like burger flipping for the same wage? It is pretty unfair for the people that spent time and money just to make the same money that a high school student would make.

      • Wake Up

        Branko, just repeating what you said will not make it any truer. You did not address the facts concerning the minimum wage increases during the Clinton presidency that did not unemployment or inflation. Even if it was Reagan that started it, Clinton still raised minimum wage without doing any damage.

        Also, why was Clinton’s success the result of what the previous President did (Reagan), but the mess left by President Bush all belongs to President Obama? As usual, you are engage a revisionist history!!

  • dmil72

    Guess what? There are already minimums that contractors must pay the employees when they win a federal contract. and MOST of the pay is already well above $7.25/hr. I guess it just goes to show once again Obama is playing to the uninformed voting block. Baaaa Baaaa little sheep.

  • dmil72

    Federal workers and federal CONTRACT workers are two different groups of people, JJ. This article is about contract workers, and like I said MOST of them are already making $10/hr or more.

  • Tim

    Burger flipper making $ min wage
    now filing single on taxes pays about
    $500 yr to the Irs.. At $15 hr. same
    burger flipper filing single on taxes
    will pay about $2700 yr to irs….
    That’s a lot more money for
    politicians to waste…. of coarse they
    are for raising min wage…. But yet
    people are fools and believe Obama
    is trying to do something for them… Everything is not supposed to be “Fair” if you want to earn more , make yourself more valuable ! Some of you people sound like zombies…
    We need to decrease federal workers and thier pay.. Send them to private sector to get a real job… And wake up , you need to WAKE UP………

    • B

      Exactly! The real problem here is the number of people looking for a handout. If you don’t think you are being paid enough then I suggest you learn a new trade, go to a university, or a tech school, anything besides sit on your lazy butt and blame everyone but yourself because you don’t make enough money! If you want something bad enough, you should be willing to work for it…..

      • JJ

        Thank you!

        That’s exactly what I did, working 2 crappy jobs I put myself through school and also earned certifications. Now I only have to work 1 semi crappy job and do not expect handouts. And yes, I paid for school, still am.

  • Bill

    This man will do anything to get a vote. As we get ready to vote this November,ask you’re self if your better off now then 5 years ago? Now I’m asking those who AREN’T receiving free cell phones and getting benefits raises, by having more children. Just those who are pulling their own weight and NOT holding their hand out.
    We need to get folks in office that WILL “represent the people”.

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