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

Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBernie Sanders to sign pledge affirming he will run as a Democrat Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Hillicon Valley: Microsoft reveals new Russian hack attempts | Google failed to disclose hidden microphone | Booker makes late HQ2 bid | Conservative group targets Ocasio-Cortez over Amazon 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 DurbinDurbin: Trump pressuring acting AG in Cohen probe is 'no surprise' Durbin after reading Green New Deal: 'What in the heck is this?' Sanders: 'Not crazy' about nixing the Senate filibuster MORE (Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGabbard cites ‘concerns’ about ‘vagueness’ of Green New Deal Durbin after reading Green New Deal: 'What in the heck is this?' Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal MORE (Mass.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union New battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks MORE (Hawaii), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowLand conservation tax incentives should inspire charitable giving, not loopholes Four names emerge for UN position: report Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal MORE (Mich.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Top Dems blast administration's proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin MORE (Ore.), Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiBottom Line Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi to reclaim Speakership amid shutdown MORE (Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenVirginia can be better than this Harris off to best start among Dems in race, say strategists, donors Virginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message MORE (Minn.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats The border deal: What made it in, what got left out Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown MORE (Ore.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen This week: Border deal remains elusive as shutdown looms MORE (Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenCoast Guard lieutenant arrested, accused of planning domestic terrorism Hillicon Valley: Microsoft reveals new Russian hack attempts | Google failed to disclose hidden microphone | Booker makes late HQ2 bid | Conservative group targets Ocasio-Cortez over Amazon Trump campaign fundraising on Bernie Sanders's M haul MORE (Mass.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinKlobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Dems offer smaller step toward ‘Medicare for all' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid MORE (Wis.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedPapering over climate change impacts is indefensible Why Democrats are pushing for a new nuclear policy GOP chairman: US military may have to intervene in Venezuela if Russia does MORE (R.I.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? Bipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia MORE (Md.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWilliam Barr is right man for the times This week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid wall fight BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president MORE (N.J.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (R.I.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Defense: Dems aim to block use of defense funds for wall | Watchdog issues new warning on Syria withdrawal | Trump wants to 'watch Iran' from Iraq Senate Dems introduce bill to block Trump from using military funds to build wall Puerto Rico statehood supporters pin hopes on House action 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."