Obama to lay out go-it-alone approach in big speech

U.S. President Obama sits inside the Oval Office as he prepares for the State of the Union Address, while at the White House in WashingtonBy Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will lay out a strategy for getting around a divided Congress and boosting middle-class prosperity on Tuesday in a State of the Union speech that reflects some scaled-back legislative ambitions after a difficult year. Obama will make clear in his 9 p.m. address that he is willing to bypass U.S. lawmakers and go it alone in some areas by announcing a series of executive actions that do not require congressional approval. The White House said Obama would announce he is issuing an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers with new contracts. In his address, Obama will also call on Congress to pass a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 and index that to inflation going forward.

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