It’s that time of year again: State of the Union Address Day! Tonight President Obama will address income inequality in his annual State of the Union Address and announce his executive move to increase the government minimum wage.
President Obama plans to stick it to Congress by bypassing them and using his executive powers to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for workers on new government contracts. Unfortunately for most minimum wage employees, this only applies to janitors, construction workers and others working for federal contractors. So the measure will only really benefit a few hundred thousand workers – at most.
“Hardworking Americans—including janitors and construction workers—working on new federal contracts will benefit from the Executive Order,” the White House said in a statement.
Obama will also call on Congress to pass legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for the nearly 21 million non-government employees making minimum wage – because calling on Congress is almost as good as bypassing Congress altogether. Plus it worked out so well last year when Obama asked Congress (in his State of the Union Address) to raise the minimum wage for all workers, only to watch Republicans tear the legislation to pieces, arguing it would hurt businesses, stifle job creation, and destroy America.
But at the very least, Obama’s new executive order underscores an increased willingness to ignore Congress and get some legislation passed. After all, he only has three years left!
“You can be sure that the president fully intends to use his executive authority to use the unique powers of the office to make progress on economic opportunity, to make progress in the areas that he believes are so important to further economic growth and further job creation,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Monday.
Aside from income inequality, long-term joblessness, expansion of early childhood education and infrastructure spending are also on the State of the Union agenda.
And don’t forget to stay tuned to the Republican rebuttal! This year the GOP is doing things a bit differently by having several Republicans address Obama’s speech instead of the traditional single voice. I guess they learned a thing or two after Marco Rubio’s mini water bottle gaffe went viral. Anyways, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State will deliver the official response on behalf of the Republican Party but Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will release a taped address and Utah Senator Mike Lee will offer a response on behalf of the populist, anti-tax tea party movement.
Via: New York Times