“We are still working on the executive orders, so we won't be able to give a specific estimate, our goal is to affect as many people as possible,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney aboard Air Force One, traveling with President Obama to an economic event in Wisconsin.
“Our best guess at this time is a couple hundred thousand will be covered,” Carney predicted.
“This is an estimate, however, because the decisions some contractors make will affect the number, and the data collected in this area is imprecise,” he cautioned.
Obama in his State of the Union address said that he was willing to work with lawmakers, but would press ahead using a “pen” and a “phone” where Capitol Hill failed to act.
One of theses executive actions will raise the minimum wage for new federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
The president is also pushing Congress to pass legislation which would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 for all workers, but that bill has stalled in the GOP-controlled House.
Obama has framed the issue as a centerpiece of his push to bolster the middle class and fight income inequality.
At an event at a suburban-Maryland Costco on Wednesday, Obama said it was “time to give America a raise.”
“Everybody does better,” said Obama, of raising the minimum wage. “It could help a lot of Americans make ends meet.”
This story was published at 11:56 a.m. and has been updated.