WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today praised President Barack Obama for signing an executive order raising the minimum wage for workers employed by federal contractors.
"President Obama is taking a very important first step by giving a raise to hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers for federal contractors," said Sanders, who was invited to this afternoon's White House signing ceremony. "The president's action adds momentum to the push in Congress to raise the minimum wage for every worker in this country to at least $10.10 an hour," Sanders added.
Sanders last Sept. 25 sent Obama a letter, signed by 14 other senators, urging the president to issue an executive order setting a minimum wage at $10.10 an hour for federal contractors.
"Taking this action would be one of the most concrete actions you could take to reduce income inequality, boost the economy and help working families pay their bills," the senators wrote in the letter to Obama. "Profitable corporations that receive lucrative contracts from the federal government should pay all of their workers a decent wage," the letter added.
Private companies that employ more than 2 million workers received $446 billion in federal contracts in 2012.
Obama announced in his State of the Union address last month that he would issue the executive order. He also has called on Congress to pass legislation to raise wages for all workers to $10.10.
Sanders is a cosponsor of the bill by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to raise the minimum wage. Senate Republicans have opposed the proposal. Not a single Republican on the Senate Budget Committee voted for a non-binding resolution offered by Sanders calling for an increase in the minimum wage.