Obama to raise minimum wage for those in new federal contracts

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President Barack Obama. - PHOTO: Courtesy

The White House today unveiled some details of President Barack Obama's "Year of Action" push, which will involve "making progress through executive action."

Such executive action is a response to Congress' failure or refusal to act on issues, such as increasing the minimum wage.

The pending Harkin-Miller bill would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation thereafter.

The president supports the bill, but also plans to announce in his State of the Union address that he will sign an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 for those employed under new federal contracts.

The White House statement said the order will cover "workers who are performing services or construction and are getting paid less than $10.10 an hour. Some examples of the hardworking people who would benefit from an EO include military base workers who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry."

The statement also said, "A higher minimum wage for federal contract workers will provide good value for the federal government and hence good value for the taxpayer. Boosting wages will lower turnover and increase morale, and will lead to higher productivity overall. Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government. When Maryland passed its living wage law for companies contracting with the state, there was an increase in the number of contractors bidding and higher competition can help ensure better quality."

The White House statement stressed the president's support for the Harkin-Miller bill and cited evidence that raising the minimum wage is good for business, and has the support of some leading U.S. companies.

LGBT civil rights advocates responded to the announcement with a call for an executive order protecting LGBT workers under federal contracts.