Pushing minimum wage, Obama revives message of ‘change’

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After a Republican filibuster stalled a minimum-wage hike Wednesday, President Obama declared that the GOP can’t stand in the way of “change” any longer and implored voters to boot from office any lawmaker who doesn’t back raising wages, extending unemployment insurance and other Democratic wish-list items.

“Change is happening, whether Republicans in Congress like it or not,” the president said during a speech in the East Room of the White House. “So my message to the American people is this: Do not get discouraged by a vote like we saw this morning. Get fired up. Get organized. Make your voices heard and rest assured I’m going to keep working with you and [House Minority] Leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress who are here today to raise wages for hard-working Americans. It’s the right thing to do.”


SEE ALSO: GOP filibusters to stop minimum-wage hike


He then urged Americans to call members of Congress who oppose raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 and deliver a simple message.

“If they keep putting politics ahead of working Americans, you’ll put them out of office,” the president said.

Mr. Obama’s comments came just hours after Senate Republicans filibustered a minimum-wage hike, ensuring it will remain a key issue heading into the November midterm elections. Democrats fell five votes shy of the 60 votes needed to take action on the bill. After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted Republicans and said they’re merely doing the bidding of billionaires Charles and David Koch rather than looking out for ordinary Americans.

Republicans and many business and retail groups oppose raising the minimum wage. They argue it will lead to job losses and increase the cost of doing business at a time when the nation’s economy can ill afford any setbacks.

But Democrats, including the president, believe the American public is on their side, and they’re looking to the ballot box to validate that belief.

“If there’s any good news here, it’s that Republicans in Congress don’t get the last word on this issue or any issue. You do. The American people, who vote,” Mr. Obama said.

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