Bernie Sanders pushes new pay hike for federal contractors
© Greg Nash

Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersTrump: ‘Clapper has now admitted there was spying on my campaign’ Overnight Defense: Trump decision on Korea summit coming 'next week' | China disinvited from major naval exercise | Senate sends VA reform bill to Trump Senate sends major VA reform bill to Trump's desk MORE (I-Vt.) is pressing President Obama to act again to give a pay raise to the lowest earning employees of firms who do business with the federal government.

Sanders, backed by a group of Senate Democrats, wants the president to take executive action directing government agencies to give preference to contractors who pay "a living wage," which would give them an advantage when competing for
government contracts.

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The senators don't specify a wage they believe companies should have to pay their workers in order to get preference when applying for government contracts, but Sanders has previously suggested a $15 per hour national minimum wage.

“The federal government continues to be America’s largest low-wage job creator, subsidizing poverty-level wages through taxpayer-funded contracts,” the senators wrote Friday in a letter to Obama. "We therefore call on you to issue an executive order giving preference in government contracting to 'model employers' who pay a living wage, offer fair healthcare and retirement benefits."

In addition to Sanders, Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTrump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform House easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure MORE (Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTech companies scramble as sweeping data rules take effect Fixing a colossal mistake in the tax bill Dems seek to chip away at Trump’s economic record MORE (Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoConservative justices signal willingness to uphold travel ban Former Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii dies at 93 Dems to top DOJ officials: Publicly promise not to interfere in Mueller's probe MORE (Hawaii), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by CVS Health - A pivotal day for House Republicans on immigration MORE (Mich.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Abortion rights group plans M campaign to flip the House The federal judiciary needs more Latino judges Senate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation MORE (Ore.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenSenators introduce bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy Ex-White House ethics counsel: More evidence against Trump than there ever was against Nixon 100 days after House passage, Gillibrand calls on Senate to act on sexual harassment reform MORE (Minn.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe federal judiciary needs more Latino judges Overnight Defense: Trump decision on Korea summit coming 'next week' | China disinvited from major naval exercise | Senate sends VA reform bill to Trump Senate sends major VA reform bill to Trump's desk MORE (Ore.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyFive takeaways on the canceled Trump summit with Kim Dem senator: I support 'real' Second Amendment, not 'imaginary' one Frustrated Trump wants action on border wall, immigration MORE (Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenRising star Abrams advances in Georgia governor race Progressive rise is good news for Sanders, Warren Juan Williams: Trump gives life to the left MORE (Mass.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinMcConnell: Midterms will be 'very challenging' for GOP Vukmir gets boost with Wisconsin Senate GOP primary endorsement  GOP senate candidate dismisses 'fake outrage' over remarks against Democratic veterans MORE (Wis.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Pompeo lays out new Iran terms | Pentagon hints at more aggressive posture against Iran | House, Senate move on defense bill Defense bill moves forward with lawmakers thinking about McCain Overnight Defense: Trump aide's comment mocking McCain sparks outrage | Haspel gets another 'no' vote | Pompeo floats North Korea aid for denuclearization MORE (R.I.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDeregulating firearms exports risks putting guns in the wrong hands Senate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation Senate panel unanimously approves water infrastructure bill MORE (Md.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo Poll: Menendez has 17-point lead over GOP challenger MORE (N.J.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation EPA extends comment period on controversial science transparency rule House easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump MORE (R.I.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichHillicon Valley: AT&T calls hiring Cohen a 'big mistake' | Wyden wants to block DHS nominee over Stingray surveillance | Amazon pressed on child privacy | One year anniversary of Trump cyber order Moment of truth for Trump pick to lead CIA Puerto Rico's electric grid under scrutiny as new hurricane season looms MORE (N.M.). signed the letter to the president.

The letter to Obama comes as Democrats are homing in on increasing the minimum wage as a top campaign issue ahead of the 2016 election.

Separately from Friday's letter, Democrats are also pushing to increase the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 from the current minimum wage of $7.25.

Last year, Obama raised the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour. The senators said "now it's time to further build on that momentum" and help bolster the middle class.

"The stroke of your pen can have [a] transformative impact for millions of workers," the senators wrote. "We urge you to harness the power of the presidency to help these workers achieve the American dream."