Republican lawmakers challenged President Barack Obama’s plan to raise the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors, suggesting it would have little impact on workers and could exacerbate partisan gridlock.
Democrats were quick to celebrate the move, to be announced during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. It would raise the minimum wage for workers on new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour. [...]
According to the Labor Department, roughly 16,000 federal employees in 2012 received the federal minimum wage — currently $7.25 per hour, set in July 2009. The agency doesn’t keep a count of minimum-wage workers at government contractors, but rather counts minimum wage workers in specific industries.
“These jobs include food service workers in federal buildings, people doing laundry at military bases and people cleaning floors at post offices,” said Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos, a left-leaning think tank. “Like the rest of the economy, federal contract jobs are increasingly low-wage jobs.”