minimum wage history
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama urged Congress to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9, saying the move would reduce poverty and stimulate the economy.
"Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour," President Obama said. "This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead.
"For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. And a whole lot of folks out there would probably need less help from government."
Unions and labor advocates are among the chief supporters of an increase in the federally mandated minimum wage.
"The president said he was putting jobs and the economy front and center tonight, and that's exactly what he did by calling for a minimum wage increase," Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, said in a statement.
"A higher minimum wage is key to getting the economy back on track for working people and the middle class. The president's remarks also cement the growing consensus on the left and right that one of the best ways to get the economy going again is to put money in the pockets of people who work."
But opponents of raising the federally mandated minimum wage have a decidedly different view of the president's proposal.