President Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union Tuesday night and is expected to address, among other things, income inequality and his push to raise the federal minimum wage.
Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey said that is something he hopes to hear more about.
“The minimum wage increase, which you all know I support, if we get in enacted it would be the right thing to do for workers,” Casey said, “tens of thousands in our state and millions across the country.”
He said benefits of raising the minimum wage would extend beyond individual workers.
“It’s another way, among several, that we can help children,” said Casey. “More than 15 and a half million children will benefit from an increase in the minimum wage because they happen to live in a household where at least one parent is a minimum-wage earner.”
Casey’s guest at the State of the Union is Philadelphia resident Tianna Gaines-Turner. Casey said she recently lost her minimum wage job, and while her husband has a job, it’s also at the minimum wage level. The couple has a 9-year-old and two 6-year-old twins.
“If anything, she’s a personification of the challenges of workers and their families,” Casey said. “They’re most of the time working, but falling behind, working but getting a minimum wage which hasn’t been increased, working but not able to make ends meet because the cost of virtually everything in their life has gone up.”
Casey said while the economy and job market has improved, it can still be hard to find employment. He said jobs should be the main focus in Washington.
“Whether you’re the president or whether you’re a member of the House or Senate of either party, that should be the number one priority for the whole town that we work in here,” Casey said.
Casey also said he hoped the president would address early learning and the need for job training. Obama is also expected to address immigration, the Affordable Care Act and Afghanistan and Iran in his State of the Union address.