President Barack Obama followed up his State of the Union call for an increased minimum wage with a speech at a Maryland Costco store to promote the proposal. Obama had cited Costco in the State of the Union, saying "profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too," as he urged Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. Wednesday, at a store in Lanham, Maryland:
“I guarantee you if workers have a little more money in their pocket, they’ll spend more at Costco,” Obama said to applause from the workers surrounding him in blue and red vests.The president plans to take action where he can, with an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers. But Speaker John Boehner will not allow a House vote on a broader minimum wage increase, just as Republicans in the first six years of George W. Bush's presidency blocked a raise. A raise for millions of low-wage Americans requires a Democratic Congress.
Obama said entry-level Costco employees start at $11.50 an hour, with average wages more than $20 an hour before overtime. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, but Obama wants Congress to raise it to $10.10.
“If you work hard, you should be able to pay your rent, buy your groceries, look after your kids,” Obama said from inside the cavernous bulk warehouse, close to the produce section where consumers could buy large containers of green seedless grapes and plantains.