President Obama plans to tell Congress Tuesday night he is taking executive action to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for some federal contract workers, administration officials said ahead of his State of the Union Address.
Obama will also pledge to work with Congress on legislation to increase the federal minimum wage for all workers from its current $7.25 to $10.10, said the administration officials who disclosed the plan on condition of anonymity so as not to preempt the president's speech.
Obama delivers his annual State of the Union speech Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.
The minimum wage debate highlights a speech in which Obama is also expected to call on Congress to pass a major immigration bill, and to outline his domestic and foreign policy agendas for the year ahead, including a variety of executive orders.
Obama's minimum wage order will cover people who are performing services, such as janitors or construction workers, and are making less than $10.10 per hour.
Officials did not estimate how many people might be affected, but it might not be many. The increase will take effect with contracts signed after Obama's order, and would only apply to contract renewals if other terms of the agreement are changed.
In his address, Obama will also make it clear he is prepared to take executive action in a variety of areas if Congress -- including the Republican-run House -- does not pass legislation. In addition to the minimum wage, he is expected to announce executive actions on job training and assistance to the long-term unemployed.
"You can be sure that the President fully intends to use his executive authority -- to use the unique powers of the office -- to make progress on economic opportunity," said White House spokesman Jay Carney, who declined to discuss details of the speech.
Obama is also expected to discuss pledges his team has solicited from major corporations, asking them not to discriminate against the long-term unemployed.
Another expected speech topic: growing income inequality.
After Obama's speech, the Republican response will be delivered by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
Obama will also pledge to work with Congress on a comprehensive minimum wage bill proposed by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa., and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., officials said. The bill would raise the federal minimum wage for working Americans in stages to from $7.25 to $10.10, and index it to inflation thereafter.
Last year, Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage to $9.
Obama's speech comes at a difficult political time for him. Over the past year, his approval ratings have fallen to record lows in the wake of problems with the health care law and an uneven economic recovery.
This State of the Union comes less than ten months before congressional elections in which Republicans are expected to pick up House and Senate seats.