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Ellison praises Obama decision to raise federal contractor minimum wage

WASHINGTON — President Obama won’t just use his Tuesday State of the Union address to push Congress toward a minimum wage hike — he’ll institute one himself.

Obama will announce an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal government contract workers.

Liberals on Capitol Hill, led by Rep. Keith Ellison, have long pushed Obama to do just that, and Ellison released a video Tuesday morning praising the decision.

“I’m incredibly gratified to tell you that I’m happy to see this happen,” Ellison said.

Ellison backed contract fast-food workers at a handful of such D.C. institutions as the Smithsonian and the Pentagon who had walked off the job to demand increased pay. Liberals cite a study finding 2 million workers on federal contracts making less than $12 an hour.

Ellison had asked for a meeting with Obama to talk about using an executive order raising those wages, but as of December, the White House was noncommittal.

“You know, folks, activism works,” Ellison said Tuesday.  “This is a testimony to how much it means for people who work hard to appeal to their government, to rely on their constitutional right to address grievances … to peacefully assemble and to make change.”

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama will on call for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers to $10.10, something most Democrats have long supported but Republicans have resisted.

Devin Henry can be reached at

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/28/2014 - 10:20 am.

    How many?

    How many federal government contract employees do you think make minimum wage? Any?
    Yet I bet the announcement will be met with thunderous applause. Idiots.

  2. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 01/28/2014 - 11:52 am.

    “This land is your land, this land is my land…”

    “If there’s something wrong, speak up” Pete Seeger

    You’ve been doing that for sometime Ellison and I honor your direct approach with much respect; you being the rare one among our Minnesota congressional reps – they being mere stooges at times when it comes to global issues – who remain silent too often…perhaps carefully weighing the effect on their political future? Thanks again

    Tom Morello and others over at The Guardian, UK, covers Seeger well with T Morello adding the full HUAC hearing ,1955. interrogation of Seeger….even as another terror, NSA, arrives again…

  3. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 01/28/2014 - 12:53 pm.

    Federal Minimum Wage

    I am not necessarily opposed to raising the minimum wage. However, since when can the President unilateral do stuff like this on his own?

    We don’t have an Imperial Presidency. We have 3 branches of government, none of which can do things unilaterally without the consent of the other.

    How would people feel if this were President Nixon and he were unilaterally making new rules, or deciding not to enforce existing laws? We’d all be going nuts…..

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/28/2014 - 05:11 pm.

      Read the article

      The President has the power to raise the minimum wage paid by federal contractors working on federal projects. It is not an across the board increase for all workers.

  4. Submitted by Mark Snyder on 01/28/2014 - 01:32 pm.

    The article provides the answer Mr. Tester seeks

    “Liberals cite a study finding 2 million workers on federal contracts making less than $12 an hour.”

    Further details on that study are found in the Washington Post article that Devin Henry provided a link to:

    “An estimated 2 million Americans work on federal contracts, though the number of workers receiving the minimum wage would be a fraction of that.

    A survey by the National Employment Law Project of contractors who manufacture military uniforms, provide food and janitorial services, and truck goods found that 75 percent of them earn less than $10 per hour. One in five was dependent on Medicaid for health care, and 14 percent used food stamps.”

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/29/2014 - 09:05 am.

      None of those examples

      answers my question, which was how many government contract employees currently make the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum wage isn’t $12 an hour, which is mentioned in your first example, the second example is meaningless, and the third says “75% make less than $10” doesn’t tell me how many currently make the minimum wage of $7.25.

  5. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/28/2014 - 07:35 pm.

    Is this another unfunded mandate?

    The money will need to come from somewhere, which I believe is the House of Representatives.

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