President Obama on Monday renewed his call to raise the federal minimum wage and to protect the right to equal pay for women as the midterm elections come into sight.
In spite of opposition from Republicans, Mr. Obama said, addressing a crowd of about 6,000 people gathered in Milwaukee at a festival hosted by the local A.F.L.-C.I.O., his goal is to make sure all Americans can meet simple goals, like being able to pay their bills and send their children to school.
“There is no denying the simple truth: America deserves a raise,” he said.
Hailing examples set by employers like Kentucky State University, whose president took a pay cut to give raises to his lowest-paid workers, Mr. Obama said Congress needed to catch up to the businesses and other institutions — as well as 13 states and the District of Columbia — that have already acted to raise their minimum wage.
Mr. Obama also referred to his executive order in February requiring that federal contractors in 2015 increase their minimum hourly wage to $10.10 from $7.25.
Countering arguments that raising the minimum wage would reduce jobs, Mr. Obama said states that had not waited for the federal government to raise their wages had seen more job growth than those that had not raised their wages.
During his brief stop — he was in Milwaukee for about two hours — Mr. Obama expressed optimism about the nation’s economic recovery, emphasizing the progress made since the 2008 collapse, which happened about two weeks after he first spoke at this labor festival as a presidential candidate. He highlighted that nearly 10 million jobs have been added in the last four and a half years, and that the unemployment rate has been improving.
SOURCE: EMMARIE HUETTEMAN
The New York Times