The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has repeatedly blocked the Democrats and President Obama from raising the nation's minimum wage for the past four years.
While President Obama cannot raise the nation's minimum wage by himself, he does have the power to do so (via an executive order) for employees of US government contractors.
According to The Washington Post, President Obama plans to announce tonight during his State of the Union address that the minimum wage for these workers would be $10.10 and would only apply to new contracts.
However, Republicans are furious that these workers are going to see an increase in their paychecks.
“The President thinks that is the way to be president and sign executive orders on his own?" Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told Fox News today, notes ThinkProgress.org. "And decide how small business and veteran-owned business and contractors with the federal government are supposed to run the business?”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told CNN this morning that the president's executive order is a "constitutional violation," notes Politico.com (video below).
Rep. King seemed to mistakenly think the president was raising the national minimum wage by himself, which he is not.
“We have a minimum wage," added Rep. King. "Congress has set it. For the president to simply declare ‘I’m going to change this law that Congress has passed,’ is unconstitutional. He’s outside the bounds of his Article II limitations.”
“Wherever you raise the minimum wage you necessarily cost jobs,” Rep. King claimed. “Because some employers will decide, ‘I can’t afford that any longer'... The minimum wage is the government interfering in between the relation between the employee and the employer.”
However, The Washington Post notes that there is no proof that raising the minimum wage affects employment for better or worse, as several economic studies have shown.