Congress has not passed legislation to raise the federal minimum wage and it looks like they aren't going to for several reasons, but President Biden still has the power to raise wages for a significant number of workers.
The federal government is one of the largest employers in the country and while many federal workers make decent money, there are also many who don't and President Biden is planning to raise their wages.
Biden is signing an executive order mandating a minimum wage of $15 for hundreds of thousands of federal contractors to be implemented within a year.
Currently, the minimum wage for federal contract workers is $10.95. It was raised to $10.10 under U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014 and later indexed to inflation.
Many federal contract workers make more than the current minimum wage. But the pay bump will give an extra boost to lower-wage workers like cleaning and maintenance professionals, food service employees on military bases and in government buildings, as well as nursing assistants who care for the nation's veterans.
The White House could not provide an exact number of how many federal contract workers will ultimately see a raise because of the executive order, given the constantly-changing nature of federal contracts.
The Republican party's refusal to raise the minimum wage is always based on the idea that raising it will kill jobs, but ask yourself this: how many employers near you only provide the federal minimum? Probably few if any do. Even McDonald's starts above that amount in most parts of the country.
With that said, the purpose of raising the federal minimum is to increase wages for workers in pockets of the country that fall through a wage gap leaving some areas impoverished. And ironically, workers who fall into that category are more likely to live in conservative, Republican-controlled states or districts where their own elected representatives in government keep them impoverished.
If you've ever dealt with someone experiencing distress, you know there is a cutoff point where you can no longer help someone who won't help themselves. That is increasing how I feel about people who repeatedly elect officials who want them broke and dead. But the good news for America is I am not the president and Biden's order will likely reach many families in these areas of the country.