President Barack Obama toured Ann Arbor on Wednesday to promote a bill written to increase minimum wage from $7.40 an hour to $10.10 an hour. The bill will soon be brought before Congress.
“Passing this bill would not just raise wages for minimum wage workers, it would help lift wages for nearly 20 million Americans, including a million people right here in Michigan,” Obama said in his address. “It would lift millions of people out of poverty.”
Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor was Obama’s first stop. He praised management for paying their employees more than the state minimum. Obama said he followed Zingerman’s lead by issuing an Executive Order raising minimum wage to $10.10 for all federal employees.
Obama left Zingerman’s to speak to a standing room only crowd of approximately 1,400 people gathered at the University of Michigan’s Intramural Sports Building.
The crowd was mostly made up of students, but Michigan Representative Gary Peters, D-Detroit, was also in attendance. Peters is running for retiring Michigan Senator Carl Levin’s seat in the Senate.
Obama cited a poll saying despite the fact that nearly 3-in-4 Americans support raising minimum wage Republicans in Congress are more concerned with repealing Obamacare than working for the American people.
“50 times they have tried to [repeal it],” Obama said. “It is like that movie Groundhog Day. Except it’s not funny.”
Despite the GOP’s continuous opposition the president said Obamacare has been a success. According to Obama 7 million people have signed up for health care to date.
Before the president finished his speech to a standing ovation, he issued a challenge to Congress.
“You’ve got a choice,” Obama said. “You can give America the shaft or you can give them a raise.”
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