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President Barack Obama Weekly Address February 22, 2014 (Video/Trascript )
President Barack Obama
The White House
February 22, 2014
Restoring the idea of opportunity for all requires a year
of action from all of us. Wherever I can act on my own, I will – and
whenever I can ask more Americans to help, I’ll do that too.
In my State of the Union Address, for example, I asked
more business leaders to take action to raise their employees’ wages.
Because even though our economy is growing, and our businesses have
created about eight and a half million new jobs over the past four
years, average wages have barely budged.
So it’s good news that, earlier this week, one of
America’s largest retailers, The Gap, decided to raise wages for its
employees beginning this year. Their decision will benefit about 65,000
workers in the U.S. That means more families will be able to raise
their kids, finish their studies, or keep up on their bills with a
little less financial stress and strain.
Gap’s CEO explained their decision simply – he said,
“[It’s] right for our brands, good for our people, and beneficial to our
customers.” And he’s right – raising Americans’ wages isn’t just a
good deed; it’s good business and good for our economy. It helps reduce
turnover, it boosts productivity, and it gives folks some more money to
spend at local businesses.
And as a chief executive myself, that’s why I took action
last week to lift more workers’ wages by requiring federal contractors
to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.
In the year since I first asked Congress to raise the
minimum wage, six states have passed laws to raise theirs, and more
states are working on it as we speak. But only Congress can finish the
job and lift Americans’ wages across the country.
Right now, there’s a bill before Congress that would boost
America’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. That’s easy to remember –
“ten-ten.” That bill would lift wages for more than 16 million
Americans without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending.
But even though a majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans
across the country support raising the minimum wage, Republicans in
Congress don’t want to give it a vote.
Hardworking Americans deserve better than “no.” Let’s
tell Congress to say “yes.” Pass that bill. Give America a raise.
Because here in America, no one who works hard should have to live in
poverty – and everyone who works hard should have a chance to get