WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (Xinhua)-- U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order formally raising the minimum wage for federal workers during an event Wednesday at the White House.
The move, first announced during the State of the Union address, will raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to 10.10 dollars per hour from the current rate of 7.25 dollars.
The order will affect workers starting on Jan. 1, 2015, and applies to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts.
"Raising the minimum wage is good for business, and it's good for workers, and it's good for the economy," said Obama.
He also pressed the Congress to match the executive order with an equivalent hike to the federal minimum wage. "There's a bill right now in front of both the House and the Senate that would boost America's minimum wage to 10.10 dollars an hour -- just like I'm doing with this executive action," he said.
"Members of Congress, you can help people make progress in their own lives, or you can hinder that progress," he added.
However, his call would face resistance from Republicans who argued that raising minimum wage would hurt business. Some Democrats have also been reluctant to embrace it.
"The executive order the president will sign today will benefit hundreds of thousands of people," the White House said in a statement before the signing ceremony.