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Barack Obama calls on Congress to raise federal minimum wage

Sunday, 16 February 2014 - 8:55am IST | Agency: IANS

US President Barack Obama Saturday called on the Congress to pass a bill to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers.

In his weekly address, Obama said while the U.S. economy has been growing for four years, Americans' "average wages have barely budged", Xinhua reported. Raising federal minimum wage would lift millions of Americans out of poverty, increase consumer spending and benefit the whole economy, he argued.

Obama has issued an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour from the current rate of $7.25 dollars, but it doesn't apply to other workers.

He pressed the Congress to "finish the job". "Right now, there's a bill in Congress that would boost American's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour," said the president.

However, his call would face resistance from Republicans who argued that raising minimum wage would hurt business. Some Democrats have also been reluctant to embrace it.

"The opponents of raising folks' wages have deployed the same old arguments for years, and time and again, they've been proven wrong," Obama argued.

"Let's prove them wrong again, and give America a raise," he added.

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