Obama Hikes Minimum Wage For Federal Employees, Contractors

The president is using his executive authority today to raise the minimum wage for those workers to $10.10 per hour.

(TRNS) — The minimum wage for low-skilled employees that do work for the federal government will rise from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour starting in January 2015 thanks to a directive issued today by President Obama.

In an effort to pressure Congress and states to hike the minimum wage for all employees, Obama is issuing the order, which applies to “hundreds of thousands of people working under contracts with the federal government,” the White House said.

Those who will benefit include “nursing assistants providing care to our veterans at nursing homes, concessions workers in National Parks, people serving food to our troops, and individuals with disabilities working to maintain the grounds on military bases.”

The White House argues that raising the minimum wage will “improve the value that taxpayers are getting from the federal government’s investment.”

“Studies show that boosting low wages will reduce turnover and absenteeism, while also boosting morale and improving the incentives for workers, leading to higher productivity overall,” the White House said. “These gains improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government.”

The new $10.10 minimum wage will also apply to tipped workers, for whom the current federal minimum wage is $2.13.

Obama wants Congress to vote soon on a Democratically-backed measure that would increase the minimum wage across the U.S. to $10.10 per hour. But it is unclear when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring that bill to the floor. The earliest he could do it would be February 24, when the Senate returns to D.C. after next week’s recess.

Some polls out there show broad backing for raising the minimum wage. A Washington Post-ABC News survey released back in December showed that 66 percent of voters support the idea because they believe it will “help low-income workers get by.”

However, the same poll showed that more people believe the national wage floor should lie somewhere in between $7.26 and $9.00 per hour than those who think it should be above that amount.

According to the Department of Labor, 21 states and the District of Columbia currently have higher minimum wages than the federally-mandated level. Four states have lower minimum wages and five other states have no minimum wage at all. Some states, like Maryland, are in the midst of considering higher wage levels.

DC Bureau Footer

Tags:

Geoff Holtzman
Geoff Holtzman is Talk Radio News Service's Deputy Bureau Chief. As one of TRNS's primary correspondents, he helps cover the White House and Capitol Hill. Geoff also covered the 2012 presidential campaign, following the candidates to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and elsewhere. In the process, he learned that not all Motel 6's are created equal. Follow Geoff on Twitter @Geoff_Holtzman.

Click here for: Wednesday, November 26

● Most with HIV are uncontrolled

● Calorie info coming to a theater near you

● Legislation follows a sneaky path

● Casting light on dark money

● Tax rule changes affect year-end donations

● Can two rights make a wrong?

Education Dept. Announces New Teacher Prep. Evaluation System

The new regulations require states to move towards outcomes rather than inputs, such as new teacher employment, as well as surveys on effective preparation, student learning outcomes

Feature: Arab Spring Culminates in Tunisian Presidential Election

A woman inks her finger before casting her vote in Tunisia's presidential election. November 23, 2014. Photo: Luke Vargas/TRNS

Tunisians voted to elect a new president on Sunday, bringing full circle the democratic aspirations first articulated in the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011.

Gov. Nixon Issues Additional National Guard Troops to Ferguson

National Guard presence will be upped from 700 troops on Monday to 2,200 on Tuesday – roughly a tenth of Ferguson’s population.

Pentagon Refutes Claims of “Bad Blood” Between Hagel and White House

Even as Defense Sec. Hagel’s resignation was met with claims that he was pushed out. Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Adm. Kirby, said this is false.

CDC: One Third Of HIV Infections Getting Treated

About 20 percent of those that do not have HIV under control are unaware that they have the virus, according to a CDC report.