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Democrats are putting raising the minimum wage on top of the legislative agenda for 2014, the New York Times reports.
After taking a beating for the rocky roll out of the Affordable Care Act, Obama and congressional Democrats are trying to use increasing public support of raising the minimum wage against a Republican opposition and to expand the voting base for 2014 midterm elections.
The legislation under consideration would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2015. This legislative move is part of Obama’s steps to combat rising economic inequality in the United States, an issue he declared would be the top priority of his legislative agenda for the rest of his presidency. The New York Times report that economic inequality will be a focus of the president’s 2014 State of the Union address. In Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Speech, he said the Republican-controlled house refused to a minimum wage increase.
Top Republicans say an increase in the minimum wage will make it more difficult for small businesses to hire people, thus hampering economic recovery.
A CBS poll last month showed 64 percent of Independents, 57 percent of Republicans, and 70 percent of self-described “moderates” said they supported a minimum wage increase.