FT_Wage_HikeProposals to raise the minimum wage, both nationally and locally, have gotten increased attention in recent weeks. President Obama renewed his call for a higher federal minimum wage during a speech on the economy at Knox College in Illinois last month. And fast-food workers in several cities have held one-day strikes or walkouts to demand higher minimum wages locally.

The public has long supported increasing the minimum wage. In a February survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, 71% said they favored raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00 an hour, as Obama has proposed. Just 26% opposed raising the minimum wage. That is lower than the 84% who backed a higher minimum wage in January 2007, prior to the last increase in the minimum wage approved by Congress. (For more on this issue, see “Who makes minimum wage?” July 19, 2013.)

The proposal faces stiff opposition in Congress from Republicans, particularly in the House. After Obama called for raising the minimum wage in his State of the Union speech, House Speaker John Boehner said