President Barack Obama will sign an executive order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour, the White House announced Tuesday.
The president is expected to announce the increase at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
The increase from the current national rate of $7.25 will not benefit existing federal contractors. Rather, it will be a benefit enjoyed exclusively by new hires. Further, according to the Associated Press, contract renewals will not be affected by the increase unless “other terms of the agreement change.”
The announced increase is the most recent example of Obama making good on his vow to work around Congress to accomplish specific goals. The increase is also likely the president responding to pressure from far-left groups who have clamored recently for wage increases for low-skilled workers.
“(T)hose who would benefit from the executive order include federally contracted janitors and construction workers as well as workers in military bases who wash dishes, serve food and do laundry,” the AP reported.
However, it’s important to remember that the increase is limited in scope and it will not apply across the board. This will no doubt upset some of the louder proponents of wage increases.
“Still, the issue dovetails with what will be Obama’s broader call for Congress to increase the national minimum wage to $10.10 and tie future increases to inflation,” the report added. “Obama called last year for an increase in the minimum wage to $9.”
Now, although increasing the wage for federal contractors technically does not require congressional authority, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that the move “unconstitutional.”
“We have a minimum wage. Congress has set it. For the president to simply declare I’m going to change this law that has passed is unconstitutional,” King said during an interview with CNN.
The president has also thrown his support behind a bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) that calls for a minimum wage increase for tipped workers.
If that particular bill passes, it will mark the first time in nearly two decades that tipped workers have received an increase in minimum wage.
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This post has been updated.