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

Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders'Morning Joe' co-host: We got into Trump's head Petition calls for Melania Trump to move to White House or pay NY security costs In California race, social justice wing of Democrats finally comes of age 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 DurbinDick DurbinRepublicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown No. 2 Senate Democrat opposes Trump's Supreme Court pick The Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (Ill.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal Gorsuch rewrites playbook for confirmation hearings MORE (Conn.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Dem: Trump is attacking science Overnight Energy: Trump signs climate order | Greens vow to fight back House passes bill undoing Obama internet privacy rule MORE (Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie HironoThe Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Live coverage: Day two of Supreme Court nominee hearing MORE (Hawaii), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowMembers help package meals at Kraft Heinz charity event in DC Senate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight The Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (Mich.), Ron WydenRon WydenDem senator: Intel Committee must probe financial ties between Trump, Russia Dems wait for GOP olive branch after ObamaCare debacle Senators offer bill aimed at helping IRS whistleblowers MORE (Ore.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiAfter 30 years celebrating women’s history, have we made enough progress? DC restaurant owners sue Trump hotel over unfair competition: report Meet the Trump pick who could lead Russia probe MORE (Md.), Al FrankenAl FrankenTax reform an important part of pro-consumer energy policy We need congressional debate on Yemen The case against Gorsuch: It’s all about precedent MORE (Minn.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyThe Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Dem senator accuses Trump of 'dangerous tilt towards authoritarianism' Overnight Regulation: Dems punch back in fight over CEO pay rule MORE (Ore.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyDems wait for GOP olive branch after ObamaCare debacle GOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement Senate backs Montenegro's NATO membership MORE (Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate Dems call for investigation of acting SEC chairman Petition calls for Melania Trump to move to White House or pay NY security costs Kushner family, Chinese firm call off deal amid public scrutiny MORE (Mass.), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinPath to 60 narrows for Trump pick Overnight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease The Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (Wis.), Jack ReedJack ReedThe Hill's 12:30 Report Dem Sen. Reed to oppose Gorsuch Dems introduce MAR-A-LAGO Act to publish visitor logs MORE (R.I.), Ben CardinBen CardinThe truth is the latest casualty of today’s brand of politics Senate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Democrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war MORE (Md.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezCorruption trial could roil NJ Senate race Steve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order MORE (N.J.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGovernment Accountability Office will review Mar-a-Lago security procedures Green groups vow war over Trump’s climate rollback Gorsuch is restoring lost faith in government MORE (R.I.) and Martin HeinrichMartin HeinrichLawmakers call for pilot program to test for energy sector vulnerabilities The Hill’s Whip List: 32 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Senators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal 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."