The more President Obama talks about the need to raise the federal minimum wage, the less likely it appears that Republicans in Congress are inclined to do it.
But the stalemate matters less and less. In the last 14 months, since Mr. Obama first called for the wage increase in his 2013 State of the Union address, seven states and the District of Columbia have raised their own minimum wages, and 34 states have begun legislative debates on the matter. Activists in an additional eight states are pursuing ballot referendums this year to demand an increase in wages for their lowest-paid workers.
The result is an outside-the-Beltway variation on Mr. Obama’s pledge to use his executive powers to bypass an obstructionist Republican Party in Congress. In this case, White House aides said they believed that Mr. Obama’s feverish rhetorical push for a higher minimum federal wage, to $10.10 per hour from $7.25, has helped generate political pressure on states to act.
On Wednesday, the president continued the push at the University of Michigan, the latest in an almost weekly focus on the subject in speeches, blog posts, radio addresses and events. In March, Mr. Obama delivered remarks on the topic at universities in Florida and Connecticut. In February, he issued an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. In January, he demanded a raise for America’s workers at a Costco in Maryland.
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