Two weeks after announcing his retirement, U.S. Rep. George Miller said he hopes President Barack Obama will highlight two key pieces of legislation he introduced in the House of Representatives during tonight’s
State of the Union address.
Miller said today that the president is expected to renew his call to Congress to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 in three stages as part of a key message about income inequality and the squeezing of America’s middle class.
The President has championed the bill, which Miller and Sen. Tom Harkin introduced last month, and is expected to issue an executive order to pay federal contractors such as janitors and construction workers at least
$10.10 per hour, according to the congressman.
He said Obama is also expected to tout the Strong Start for America’s Children Act tonight, which would implement the president’s plan to expand and improve early childhood education.
“Both of those are widely supported throughout the country on a bipartisan basis,” Miller said.
While the two bills have drawn wide bipartisan support, Miller noted that he has seen partisanship intensify sharply since he first took office 40 years ago.
“That’s all become more difficult, and as a result the Congress just isn’t meeting the challenges…that we should be addressing,” he said.
“The congress just has to work through this and get back to the issues of the nation, not the partisan fighting.”
Miller cited the influence of ultra-conservative Tea Party movement over the Republican Party as another significant trend that has marked Washington politics in recent years.
He said he thinks the Tea Party influence “has reached its zenith” as Republican leaders gain awareness of negative effects of extreme Tea Party politicians on the GOP.
Tonight’s State of the Union address is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
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