“In my State of the Union Address, I asked more businesses to do what they can to raise their employees’ wages,” Obama said in a statement. “Today, I applaud Gap, Inc. for announcing that they intend to raise wages for their employees beginning this year – a decision that will benefit about 65,000 workers in the U.S.”
Reports said Gap would raise its minimum wage to $9 in June of 2014 and up to $10 in June 2015.
Obama has pressed lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, but the measure is unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled House, where conservative lawmakers say raising wages could hurt small businesses and hurt job growth.
Obama has made the issue a centerpiece of his push to bolster the middle class and fight income inequality, and earlier this month signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers.
A report from the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday, though, said that while a wage hike would help lift more families out of poverty, it would also cost the economy jobs -- a finding the Obama administration disputes.
The president on Wednesday pushed lawmakers to raise the minimum wage for all workers.
“Only action from Congress can make a difference nationwide,” said Obama.
“Right now, there is a bill in front of both the House and the Senate that would boost America’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and lift wages for more than 16 million workers – all without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending,” he said. “It’s time to pass that bill and give America a raise.”