President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address last night, in which he called for an increase in the minimum wage and for an extension of emergency unemployment assistance. The president called for raising the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10. He also touted areas where he could act without the help of the Congress, through executive orders, such as requiring federal contract workers to receive a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. Democratic Representative Scott Dianda says many full time workers don’t have enough to get by on the current rate.
Obama also called on Congress to extend emergency unemployment assistance. Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat, responded to the address saying “the president was surely right to call for urgent action to restore emergency unemployment benefits; it is shocking that we have not yet restored this lifeline for more than 1.5 million Americans.”