The new policy, to be instituted via executive order, may affect hundreds of thousands of workers whose jobs are supported by federal dollars.
President To Sign Executive Order Raising Federal Minimum Wage
Credit: Flickr
January 28, 2014

Good. Thanks to all the progressive groups who pushed so hard on this issue:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will announce during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address that he's raising the minimum wage for workers under federal contracts to $10.10 per hour, an administration official told The Huffington Post.

The new policy, to be instituted via executive order, may affect hundreds of thousands of workers whose jobs are supported by federal dollars. The move is designed in part to ratchet up pressure on Congress to pass legislation raising the minimum wage for all workers. The current federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 per hour, and hasn't been raised since 2009, after the last of a series of increases signed into law by then-President George W. Bush.

The new executive order is part of a broader pledge from the White House to pursue policies that don’t rely on congressional approval. What other policies are in the works, the administration has refused to say.

According to an Obama administration fact sheet, the executive order will cover “workers who are performing services or constructing buildings and are getting paid less than $10.10 an hour.” Those likely to see bumps in future paychecks include dishwashers, food servers and construction workers. Many work in government buildings, but for private employers.

The executive order to be announced by the president during Tuesday night's speech will take effect only for “new contracts after the effective date of the order.” The administration will honor existing contracts, but the speech gives notice to contractors to adjust future bids -- likely by raising them -- to accommodate the higher wages.

The move marks a significant victory for labor unions and a handful of progressive Democrats who pressed the president to issue the order, including Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

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