Minimum Wage
4:27 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

President Obama: "It's Time to Give America a Raise"

President Barack Obama speaking at CCSU.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Barack Obama came to Connecticut on Wednesday to push for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. He spoke to a friendly crowd at Central Connecticut State University this afternoon telling them, "It's time to give America a raise."

"New England needs to lead on this issue."
Gov. Dannel Malloy

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Obama reminded them that one year ago, he asked Congress to raise the minimum wage. He said that since then, Connecticut and five other states have done so.

"On January 1," Obama said, "tens of thousands of folks across this state got a raise. Governor Malloy is working to lift the wage even higher. Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington state; other states, counties, cities across the country are working to raise the minimum wage, as we speak."

Obama said that New England is leading the country on this issue, saying five of the region's governors have formed a regional coalition to increase the minimum wage. Governors Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Peter Shumlin of Vermont joined the President and Governor Malloy on stage.  

Malloy signed a wage hike last year that raises hourly wages to $9.00 next January, and now he's pushing state lawmakers to raise it to $10.10. "There is a time to lead," Malloy said, "and a time to follow, and I will follow this president on the great policies that he has put forward. But New England needs to lead on this issue."

The chances of an increase are better here than in Washington, D.C., where the GOP-led House, as of yet, has no plans to vote on it.