(USA TODAY) President Obama praised Gap on Wednesday after the company announced plans to raise the minimum wage it pays its U.S. workers to $10 per hour.
"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.," Obama said in a statement.
Glenn Murphy, the chairman and CEO of Gap, says the chain will raise wages to $9 per hour in 2014 and $10 per hour in 2015. The wage increase will affect all six of Gap's brands, which include Old Navy and Banana Republic.
"After many months of consideration, we've made a business decision that's right for our brands, good for our people and beneficial to our customers," Murphy wrote in a message on the company's website.
Last week, Obama signed an executive order that will hike the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers under federal contracts starting next year.
Obama is pushing Congress to pass legislation that would lead to the minimum wage being gradually increased to $10.10 for all workers by the end of his presidency. The push faces stiff resistance in the GOP-controlled House.
Republicans point to a report published Tuesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that shows raising the federal minimum wage could help lift 900,000 workers out of poverty but at a cost of as many as 500,000 jobs.
The White House countered that dozens of economists have concluded that a hike in the minimum wage would be a boost to the economy without having a significant effect on employment levels.
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