Politics

Obama Administration And Supporters Continue Efforts To Raise Minimum Wage

| by Jared Keever

Supporters of the Obama administration’s push to raise the federal minimum wage met with workers at a Washington D.C. restaurant on Monday. The group gathered to call on Congress to act on the proposal that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10. 

Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez and Rep. George Miller, D-California, attended the lunchtime gathering. Miller is the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

He told The Associated Press that he believes chances are good that the Repulican-led House of Representatives would allow for a vote on the issue.

“The Republicans are talking to us all the time about whether or not this is going to come up. I appreciate that the GOP leadership has a very hard line against [it],” Miller said. “But I think before the election, we have a very good chance of passing this.”

The higher wage proposal has not passed the Democratic-controlled Senate and it remains stalled in the House despite many pleas, from Democrats, to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to schedule a vote. 

The issue is seen as a top priority for President Obama in his second term. Many supporters believe that, if passed, a higher minimum wage could bolster support for Democrats prior to the 2014 midterm elections.

Last week the Labor Department proposed a rule to raise the minimum wage for all federal contractors by Jan. 1, 2015. That proposal provides further detail to an executive order the president signed in February regarding the wages of all federal workers.

“Raising the minimum wage for workers on federal contracts will provide a much needed boost to many who are working hard, but still struggle to get by, and it will also benefit taxpayers with improved employee retention and productivity. Today the department took an important step toward making the promise of the executive order a reality for thousands of workers,” Perez told the Federal Times when the rule was made public.

The rule is open to public comment until July 12.

The International Monetary Fund’s annual review of the U.S. economy described the country’s minimum wage as low by historical and international standards, according to NBC News. The review was the first time the IMF has endorsed raising the wage in the United States.

Sources: Huffington Post (AP Story), Federal Times, NBC News