U.S. President Barack Obama, surrounded by workers, signs an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay a minimum wage of $10.10. at the White House in Washington, Feb. 12, 2014. UPI/Mike Theiler | License Photo
CAMBRIDGE, Md., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Friday urged congressional Democrats to work with Republicans to raise the federal minimum wage.
Speaking at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md., the president conceded Democrats have a tough time with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives but he suggested some Republicans may be willing to work across the aisle on issues like the minimum wage and "a smart immigration policy."
"And I believe, frankly, that there are folks on the other side of the aisle who genuinely want to see this done, but they're worried and they're scared about the political blowback," he said.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Thursday Democrats will try to use a parliamentary tactic to bring a bill to the House floor to raise the minimum wage.
"We just announced that we're going to be going back to Congress a week from now and we're going to put a discharge petition in and get the minimum wage on the calendar," Hoyer said on MSNBC. "We hope our Republican colleagues will join us so that we give the incentive for people to work, and when they work, they won't be living in poverty."
Hoyer said a discharge petition will result in bringing the proposal to the full House "if we get some 20 to 25 Republicans to sign that bill," but he said it was uncertain that many Republican members will sign on.
Vice President Joe Biden, addressing the Friday gathering ahead of the president, said there "isn't a Republican party," the Washington Post reported.
"I wish there were, I wish there was a Republican party," Biden said. "I wish there was one person we could sit across the table from and make a deal and make the compromise and know when you got up from the table that the deal was done."