WASHINGTON - Americans have to keep fighting to build a "stronger middle class in today's changing economy," U.S. President Barack Obama said in his weekly address Saturday.
That fight includes the right to have affordable health insurance, fair pay, family leave and workplace flexibility, Obama said in a worker-focused address tailored for the Labor Day weekend.
Raising the minimum wage would be one of the "best ways to give a boost to working families," the president said. He noted that 13 states and the nation's capital have raised their minimum wages in the last 18 months.
Obama said the states where the minimum wage was raised have experienced higher job growth than those that did not raise the minimum.
As of August 1, the District of Columbia and 23 states had minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which offers a state-by-state breakout.
America "built the greatest middle class the world has ever known" by making sure that everyone who is" willing to work hard and play by the rules can get ahead," Obama said.
Representative Larry Bucshon, from the Midwestern state of Indiana, said in the Republican address that the Obama administration's policies "continue to harm" the nation's economy and families struggling "to make ends meet."