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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the National Security Agency from the Justice Department in Washington January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the National Security Agency from the Justice Department in Washington January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  

Obama to issue executive order raising minimum wage

President Obama has said he has a pen and a phone. Now he is using them to raise the minimum wage.

The president will issue an executive order raising minimum wage for federal contract workers  from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, Fox News reports.

This move, which doesn’t touch the rest of the private sector, will effect more than two million employees.

This mirrors the president’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage by the same amount. Obama is expected to reiterate that position in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin and California Democratic Rep. George Miller introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour last year.

The bill was filed after Obama promised to raise the federal minimum wage during his 2013 State of the Union Address.

“Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour,” Obama said in last year’s speech.

A year later Obama has still not fulfilled his promise and it is unlikely that he will as long as Republicans control the House.

So far 210 lawmakers have cosigned the legislation, but according to Govtrack.us the likeliness of the bill moving through both chambers is about two percent.

Congressional Republicans have spoken out against the proposal, arguing it would put new burdens on business owners and ultimately harm the very people it was intended to help.

A recent study conducted by the Employment Policies Institute found that if the federal minimum wage were to be hiked to $10.10, as many as 1,084,000 jobs could be eliminated from the American work force.

Polls show the public backs a minimum wage hike. The issue will feature prominently in the 2014 midterm elections.

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