AP graphic of U.S. Rep. John Boehner, Speaker of the House.
(USA TODAY) - Republicans are starting to push back on one of the new proposals President Obama made in Tuesday night's State of the Union, an increase in the minimum wage.
In asking that the minimum wage rise from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour, Obama told members of Congress that the step would benefit millions of working families.
"It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead," Obama said.
Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said an increase in the minimum wage will translate into a decrease of jobs.
"When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens?" Boehner said. "You get less of it. At a time when the American people are still asking the question, where are the jobs?"
The president also proposed indexing the minimum wage to inflation, saying that "working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher."
"Obama campaigned in 2008 on a pledge to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011, but he didn't follow through during his first term, despite multiple calls from worker advocates to do so.
"Not every minimum-wage worker, however, is paid the federal rate, which translates into $14,500 a year for a full-time employee. Some 18 states plus the District of Columbia have rates above the federal level, with Washington state mandating the highest level at $9.19 an hour. And 10 states automatically increase their minimum wage rates annually to account for inflation.
"Were the rate to rise to $9, a full-time minimum wage worker would earn roughly $18,000 a year, which is still below the poverty level for a family of four. ...
"Obama faces a tough battle getting a rate hike through Congress. The last time lawmakers approved such a bill was in 2007, when they agreed to a three-step increase from $5.15 per hour to the current rate of $7.25 by July 2009."