Senator Tom Harkin is praising the president for using executive power to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers.
President Obama has said he’ll start using executive orders to enact proposals that have stalled in congress. Tonight, during his State of the Union speech, Obama will tout his executive order that establishes a $10.10 an hour minimum wage for janitors, construction crews and other minimum wage workers employed by federal contractors. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin — a leading advocate for raising the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — says it’s a “bold step to ensure the federal government is a leader in promoting good jobs that pay fair wages.” Harkin says he believes “most Americans would agree” taxpayer dollars should not go to companies that pay “poverty wages.”
Harkin says the president’s move is just a “first step” and it’s “vitally important” for congress to pass a bill that not increases the federal minimum wage, but sets up an annual cost of living formula so minimum wage workers “don’t fall behind again.” Over 28 million Americans are minimum wage workers and a third of them are over the age of 40. Only 12 percent are under the age of 20.