THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET, SATURDAY, February 22, 2014
WHITE HOUSE VIDEO MESSAGE: Congress Should Raise the Minimum Wage
WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s message, Elmy Bermejo, the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Labor discussed the importance of raising the minimum wage for American workers. The President believes that 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 ahead.
The audio of the address and video of the message is available online HERE.
Remarks of Elmy Bermejo
Weekly Video Message
The White House
February 22, 2014
Restoring the idea of opportunity for all requires a year of action from all of us. Wherever the President can act on my own, he will – and whenever he can ask more Americans to help, he’ll do that too.
In his State of the Union Address, for example, the President 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, boost productivity, and gives folks some more money to spend at local businesses.
And that’s why President Obama 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. 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.
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 ahead.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.