January 29, 2014, 06:00 am
Obama, Biden hit road to tout economic proposals
By Justin Sink
President Obama and Vice President Biden will hit the road Wednesday, looking to rally support for some of the economic proposals outlined in his State of the Union address.
According to the White House, the president will look to "expand on themes" he mentioned Tuesday night, discussing "new ways to build economic security for the middle class and expand opportunity for all so that every American can get ahead."
Obama will travel first to a Costco store in suburban Maryland, where he'll press his case for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The warehouse store has endorsed the effort, and pays its employees a $11.50 hourly starting wage.
In his address Tuesday night, Obama implored Congress to "give America a raise" and match his executive order that mandates government contractors pay their low-wage employees more.
"This will help families. It will give businesses customers with more money to spend," Obama said. "It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say yes."
Obama will then travel to a steel plant in western Pennsylvania, where he'll sign a presidential memorandum establishing the "starter" retirement savings program he proposed in his address.
According to the White House, the product will be targeted to Americans who currently lack a workplace retirement savings plan. It will be backed by the government, so investors would never lose the principal they invest.
Initial investments could be as low as $25, with monthly contributions as little as $5 per month, and savings will earn interest at the same rate as some federal employees' retirement plans. The program would be open to all households making under $191,000 per year.
"While the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks," Obama said in the State of the Union. "That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings."
Meanwhile, Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will visit Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, where they'll speak about federal job training programs.
On Tuesday night, Obama tasked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s federally-funded job training programs. The vice president will look at how the programs and curriculums can be reformed to better train students with skills employers have requested.
From Pennsylvania, Obama will travel to a gas engine plant in Wisconsin on Wednesday where he's expected to tout manufacturing initiatives proposed within his speech. Later that day, he'll visit a high school in Tennessee before returning home to Washington.