| WASHINGTON, April 25
WASHINGTON, April 25 For the fifth Saturday this
year, the White House used the president's weekly address to
exhort Republicans to support an increase in the minimum wage, a
key part of President Barack Obama's voter-friendly economic
agenda aimed at keeping Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate.
Obama has been pushing Congress to raise the federal minimum
wage to $10.10 per hour, up from the current level of $7.25, a
move that would lift wages for almost 28 million people and is
supported by more than 70 percent of Americans.
"While not all of us always see eye-to-eye politically, one
thing we overwhelmingly agree on is that nobody who works
full-time should ever have to live in poverty," Obama said in
his address, which airs on radio stations and is posted online.
The measure is unlikely to pass Congress. Republicans argue
it would kill jobs, pointing to a non-partisan Congressional
Budget Office estimate that it would cost about 500,000 people
their jobs even as it lifted 900,000 people out of poverty.
Senate Democrats are expected to bring the measure up for a
vote next week to try to rally support among voters and get them
excited ahead of November midterm elections.
Republicans are expected to keep their majority in the House
of Representatives after the election, and also could take
control of the Senate if they pick up six seats.
That would make it hard for Obama to achieve his goals in
his final two years in office. So he has pushed Democrats to
work hard to get out the vote, and has talked up populist
Raising the minimum wage has been Obama's most frequent
theme in the Saturday addresses this year. He spoke about it on
Feb. 15 and 22, and on March 8. On March 29, Vice President Joe
Biden stood in for Obama for the address, and also used the time
to talk about raising the minimum wage.
Obama has also spoken about the issue around the country,
buying sweaters at a Gap store to draw attention to the
company's plan to raise the minimum wage for its workers and
praising governors in states such as Connecticut who have passed
their own minimum wage raises.
In this week's address, Obama described a New York City
restaurant owner who was inspired to raise wages for her
employees by the end of the year to at least $10 per hour.
He also panned Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, a Republican,
for signing a law stopping cities in the state from setting
their own minimum wages.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)