U.S. President Barack Obama signs an executive order requiring federal contracts to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, at the White House in Washington, Feb. 12, 2014. UPI/Mike Theiler | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday urged the public to pressure Congress on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said -- as he had in multiple speeches recently -- raising the minimum wage would not only affect those who earn it but would also "lift wages for about 28 million Americans.
"It would lift millions of Americans out of poverty, and help millions more work their way out of poverty -- without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending," he said. "It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend -- and that means growing the economy for everyone."
Obama -- who signed an executive order this week raising the minimum wage in increments to $10.10 per hour for employees of federal contractors -- said the economic growth during the past four years has resulted in "those at the top are doing better than ever" while average wages are mostly unchanged during that time.
"Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead," the president said. "And that's been true since long before the recession hit.
"That's why we've got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just a fortunate few.
"Right now, there's a bill in Congress that would boost America's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
"You deserve to know where the people who represent you stand on this. If they don't support raising the federal minimum wage to [$10.10] an hour, ask them 'why not?' The opponents of raising folks' wages have deployed the same old arguments for years, and time and again, they've been proven wrong.
"Let's prove them wrong again, and give America a raise," he said. "Let's make opportunity easier to come by for every American who's willing to work for it."