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Raise Minimum Wage, Obama Urges Congress

  • VOA News

At Cross Campus, a collaborative space for freelancers, co-founder Sensay Ariel Jalali, right, offers President Barack Obama a job after his term. Obama visits Santa Monica, CaIifornia, Oct. 9, 2014.

At Cross Campus, a collaborative space for freelancers, co-founder Sensay Ariel Jalali, right, offers President Barack Obama a job after his term. Obama visits Santa Monica, CaIifornia, Oct. 9, 2014.

U.S. President Barack Obama said it's time to give America a raise.

In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s but the typical American family has not seen a raise since the 1990s.

One of the "simplest and fastest" ways to begin helping people is by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, he said.

The current minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour would leave a full-time worker, whose household included children, living below the poverty line, Obama said.

He urged Congress to increase the minimum wage, last raised in 2009.

Some 23 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which offers a state-by-state breakout.

Obama said he would keep fighting to raise the minimum wage because "America should forever be a place where your hard work is rewarded."

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Meanwhile, in the weekly Republican address Saturday, U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown criticized Obama for his handling of global dangers.

"This is what the world looks like without American leadership," Brown said, citing ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and eastern Ukraine, plus recent fighting in the Gaza Strip and a massive military buildup in China.

Brown, who represented Massachusetts in the Senate and wants to do the same for New Hampshire, said crises across the world are worsening, with "so many adversaries gaining ground."

Highlighting the threats Islamic State militants have made against Americans, Brown criticized Obama's immigration policies, saying "a porous border is an obvious pathway for terrorists" to get into the country. He called for stronger border protection.

Brown also slammed recent reductions in military personnel, saying the U.S. needs to boost its defense forces with more support, equipment and personnel.

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