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President Obama Takes the Lead on Raising Minimum Wage

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Obama signed an executive order today, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for federal contractors. Though neither chamber of Congress has passed a minimum wage bill, the president moved forward on his vow to not "stand still," made during last month's State of the Union address. Bread for the World is encouraged by this step, and urges Congress to pass legislation that raises the minimum wage for all workers.

"President Obama took an important first step today for hourly workers across America. Now is the time for Congress to do its part," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "Too many workers in this country face hard times as a result of insufficient wages. There is no reason that full-time workers should struggle to provide for their families."

As noted in Bread for the World Institute's 2014 Hunger Report: Ending Hunger in America, income from work is the primary buffer against hunger for the vast majority of U.S. families, yet too many jobs pay poverty-level wages.

As the economy has grown, workers at the bottom haven't seen correlating wage growth. From 2009 to 2012, the income of the bottom 99 percent of wage earners grew by an average of just 0.4 percent, while that of the top 1 percent grew by an average of 31.4 percent. Raising the minimum wage is a vital step to ensuring that working Americans don't have to go hungry.

"Lawmakers must put an end to the income inequality and stagnant wages that cause so much hardship for the lowest wage earners. A full-time, year-round worker should be able to support a family of four above the poverty line. Congress should also eliminate exemptions so that no worker is paid less than minimum wage."

For more on this and other recommendations for ending hunger in America, please visit www.hungerreport.org.  

Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

SOURCE Bread for the World

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