Obama to use executive action to raise minimum wage for federal contractors

President Obama will announced plans to use his executive authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for federal contract workers during the State of the Union address, the White House said Tuesday.

Federal workers like janitors, construction workers and dishwashers hired under new federal contracts would benefit from the new order, which the White House calls an example of how the president can "lead by example."

"Boosting wages will lower turnover and increase morale, and will lead to higher productivity overall," the White House said in a statement. "Raising wages for those at the bottom will improve the quality and efficiency of services provided to the government."

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 Earlier this year, 15 senators and 17 members of the House sent Obama a letter urging him to exercise his executive authority on the issue.

The White House will also look to pressure Congress into passing a bill that would set the federal minimum wage at $10.10 per hour and index it to inflation.

"There’s a proposal in both the House and Senate to do that across the board, not just for contractors but for the federal minimum wage across the board," White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told CBS News on Tuesday. "We think $10.10 an hour is the way to go. Nobody who works full-time and works hard at their job should live in poverty. We think $10.10 an hour will allow them to do that."

The move also dovetails with the White House's attempts to find ways to sidestep legislative gridlock that has dominated Congress. 

The minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 and has not been raised since 2009. 

-This story was updated at 7:50 a.m. Justin Sink contributed.