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The Call Blog: President Obama Calls For Minimum Wage Raise, Universal Pre-K, Immigration Reform

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Sometimes, scandal trumps substance. It happened last night when Congressman Michael Grimm's pathetic display upstaged President Obama's State of the Union. As a result, the internet is buzzing with thousands of disparaging comments about Staten Islanders. I grew up down the block from Historic Richmond Town. And you, sir, don't represent me.

President Obama pushed several domestic initiatives during his State of the Union address last night. After promising a "year of action" in Washington, Obama said he would sign an executive order setting the minimum wage for federal contractors at $10.10 an hour. The President hopes the act will spur Congress to increase the $7.25 minimum wage for all employees.

Obama also called for a smarter tax policy, a shift to cleaner energy and a broad push for immigration reform. The President also endorsed expanding access to high-quality pre-school to every four-year old in America, an idea that already has the support of Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio here in New York.

After the speech, NY1 found itself in the middle of a national news story when Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm threatened Washington Bureau reporter Michael Scotto. After Scotto asked Grimm about an FBI investigation into his campaign finances, the Congressman said: "If you ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this (expletive) balcony... I'll break you in half. Like a boy." Grimm initially defended his remarks, but then apologized this morning.

Do you support President Obama's decision to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors without the support of Congress? Will it spur Congress to raise it for every worker in America? Are you inspired by Obama's domestic initiatives or has his accomplishments in office disappointed you? What's your reaction to the actions of Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hi John;

Regarding Obama's speech I skipped it because I just can't stomach the lies every politician including Obama spew. I do agree that minimum wage MUST be one can survive on 7.25 an hour.

Regarding Grimm threatening Michael Scotto he should have been locked up. Media outlets (and not all of them) are the only hope we have. Who voted for Grimm? I guess the same people who voted in our recent bout of politicians.

midtown east

Increasing the minimum wage, expanding Pre-k all makes sense except to republicans, and though the president has promised to advance more initiatives by bypassing congress he can only do the minimal and as long as republicans keep control of that body we are going to see this country linger behind. And as far as the actions of Mr. Grimm, he is an idiot, but it seems that idiots are in fashion especially in Washington.

Bay Ridge

Hi John

I support President Obama's year of action to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, i hope Congress do raise the minimum wage for all employees because the cost of living is expensive espically for parents with a lot of kids or single parents with a lot of kids. President Obama, Gov Cuomo and Mayor Diblasio are on the right track when it comes to education parents should start reading to their kids before they start pre-k reading is very important it helps when the child get into college. Congressman Grimm should be expelled because he threatened a reporter the reporter was only doing his job that's what reporters do you report to us the dirty dealings that some congressmen do. I know Mayor Diblasio, President Obama or Gov Cuomo wont threaten reporters because they have common sense.

upper west side




Wages should be negotiated between employee and employer. When the government butts in, it is in effect committing a crime. And if the employers don't comply, what's Obama going to do? Shut down or takeover the business?

Port Richmond, SI

The President cares more about illegal immigrants and contractors than he does about federal workers who have received a 1% raise after four years.

Park Hill

I think It's a great Idea! when you are a low income worker every penny counts so much. Nobody is talking about how hard it is to pay rent that's over $1,120 a month utilities at $200 and food and transportation costs at $250 per month and other things at total of about $1,600 a month when you make only $8 and hour that's about $600. every two weeks, $1200 a month. HOW can anyone make it on that? No one even talks about what that paycheck looks like after taxes...It will make you cry after working hard for two weeks and your check can't even pay your rent.

This is why so many families wind up homeless, it's not being lazy, it's working but simply unable to keep up with the cost of living here.

Terri F of Harlem

Hi John,

All of these proposals seem to have an effect only on the tax payers of New York City financially. This pre-k is nothing more than a glorified day care center. Why is it that no one is even giving a thought to the present education systems across the country. All they seem to do is continue to put good money after bad and we are slipping further and further into a downfall within our education system. The wants and needs of everyone can not keep receiving just for the asking since someone else like the middle class ends up footing the bill and this notion of the so called rich must fund the day care center. This to me is very unfair. By continuing to raise the minimum wage only for the asking which has become as every other whim granted are only votes for the politicians. When people suggest and say that by raising the minimum wage that it won’t hurt a business owner. How do we know what there responsibilities entail.

This incident and every other that happens with these politicians should not get a free pass only for saying I’m sorry. It has become to common and this goes for all the law breakers and sexual advances and corruption to continue. We have so many amongst us in government and I say we citizens have to do more than to just let them off scott free. But, they keep getting re-elected because they give out to many amenities to the voters and that’s the reason they get away with everything they do. I say we the citizens of this country should be able to pass a bill with a stroke of our pens and once they are suspected of wrong doing of any kind at all they should be relieved of their duties. [CALL IT A KANGAROO COURT OR NOT BUT SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE]

This Grimm should be ashamed of himself to humiliate this reporter: He happens to be a great guy: [NO EXCUSES AT ALL WHAT SO EVER]

Thank you John,

Hi John,

Yes I support the president's decision to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, as Congress will never support anything that he's for. Why wasn't Staten Island Congressman Grimm called a thug like the football player who didn't make threatening gestures toward anyone.

Springfield Gardens

Hi John,

Honestly, I don't remember anything that the President said in his speech thanks t Mr. Grimm's tirade. I hope that that when the segment is revisited in your studios that you turn the volume up. I thought that I heard a comment that Mr. Grimm made to Mr. Scotto as to questioning his manhood?. I could care less what Mr. Scotto's gender status is or not. He is a top shelf journalist. Mr. Scotto is a class act and never once did he react to Mr. Grimm's bullying and homophobic rants. I pray that Mr. Grimm doesn't do one of those phoney mea culpas to try to perform damage control. He is a day late and a dollar short !

Mr. Grimm needs a room with a view at Bellevue.. All Mr.Grimm needed to do was to say "no comment" and keep it moving. If his constituents didn't know who Mr. Grimm was this will show them and maybe they can save the video for the next election ROAD TO BELLEVUE not to City Hall. This ad is gladly paid for citizens NOT FOR RE-ELECTION of Michael "Grim" Grimm!

Kathy from Throggs Neck da Bronx

Yes I believe the president should use executive order to raise minimum wage if congress does not support him. That will be the only way low income workers will get a raise. These politicians are only concerned about the rich staying wealthy off of the backs of the working poor and middle class.


I am all for the President raising the minimum wage "without Congress". Congress has had more then enough time to act on this issue and they refused. Now is the time for the President to use his "Executive Power" to get things done. I feel Five Years of "No Work" from Congress is ENOUGH. As you can see from Rep. Boehnner in the background, Congress is not in agreement with helping workers get a decent living wage.

As for Rep. Grimm, "what a thug in rare form", a down right Bully.

Upper West Side

The cost of living in NYC is just outrageous, raising the minimum wage this year should be top priority.

Carmen, ( rent in Bay Ridge is as high as Manhattan's)

I yelled at the tv for most of the speech, from the left. No one forced him to spy on us; no one forced him to run a corporate experiment with our schools. I think he uses Republican resistance as cover for center-right initiatives, increased income inequality, and shredding our social safety nets. It's long since past the time when he could honestly be seen as a champion of the left or the grand majority of Americans, regardless of their political ideology.


US Rep. Michael Grimm's behavior was reprehensible and he should be censured for threatening a reporter -- or anyone, for that matter. These arrogant elected officials too often forget they are elected by the people to do their business -- and not fill their own pockets and run amok. Grimm's apology was too little, too late and not very credible. Let the investigation or his crooked fund raising continue.


As an employer who already pays my people at least $10/hr, I am at a disadvantage with my competitors who pay $8/hr. I can barely make ends meet myself. But it's not fair to my people to do otherwise. I believe strongly that an employer needs to have a social conscience as well as an eye on the bottom line.

Regarding Mr. Grimm, we don't need that kind of bully anywhere in our government or anywhere else. I've been leaned on by bullies on both sides of the aisle - it's not just Republicans, it's all over and it needs to stop.


This is Az from Queens I believe there needs to be a meet up in the middle between what minimum wage is and the cost of living, I am 22 years old and to my knowledge i was always told if you want to live comfortably in America you need to get your education and go to college, these fastfood jobs are not where you go to create a career its a starter, Lets do better people

If ever the was someone who should be labeled 'thug', it would be Michael Grimm. The reporter probably should have pressed charges on the Congressman. He was clearly shaken by Grimm's thuggish behavior, who at first, said it was justified. We should be thanking Grimm for putting a face on 'thug'. By the way he is aptly named.


First let's get the absurd out of the way... Grimm should get a job as a staffer with Governor Christie because his actions would fit right in...Was he auditioning for a possible Soprano movie? 'Throw a reporter off of a balcony?' What do you expect though he's a hack...

What is needed from Obama is a grand bargain of sorts just to get the disciples of ayan rand interested....I'd trade SOME social welfare CUTS for a min wage of 25.00 dollars... The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth $2 less today than it was in 1968 when adjusted for inflation. The rich need to pay their fair share...right now social security is capped at 113k...We are flush with cash!!!

Antonio from BaySide

They should raise the min wage to 15 dollars an hour. What they just realizing that customers control this economy? Stupi morans and as for Grim, he's got a good career as the next Robert Denerio in Goodfellas 2 as for Politics, good luck with that.

Joe a former Staten Islander

We all need to make more money. The solution is to lower taxes, then we all have more money in our pocket.

Murry Hill

Raise the standard deduction to $15,000-not the minimum wage. Politcians would collect less money.


John -

I am very upset about Grimm's threats against Mr. Scotto. With all the recent dysfunction in our government, it is Grimm's thuggish behavior that I find the most sickening. There is something deeply disturbing to me about a man who wields such power throwing logic and the law out the window. IT'S SCARY. I believe that he undermined our whole system of government and should immediately be removed from office. Congressmen should behave as role models, not common hoods.

- Steve from Riverdale

It is indeed a grim day for this "congressman". Very unprofessional, not indicative of a governmental role model.


I am a city worker hardy making it, My husband was a union member for local 1 Brick Mason Fringe , He was making over $50,000 a year and was laid off now unemployment has been cut no one want's to hire and he has looked for work and no ne is hiring , Our situation is so bad that he is now peddling for money . That is not fair at all !! We have two kids are rent is $1700 a month and we have to pay utilities as well , WE literally are starving and I work for the City Of NY making only $13.99 an hour HRA SAYS I MAKE TO MUCH FOR FOOD STAMPS TALK ABOUT SMH!!


Grimm is a disgrace ! After he's apology to Michael Scotto , he mentioned about he's Italian mother , trying to make correlation between him and Michael Scotto .... Yes , we all make mistakes , but this one is not an excuse ! He's a bully ! He should step down ...


Hi John,

After last weeks reaction to Richard Sherman I would expect we would learn to forgive people for their passionate remarks. Although Grimm a little more heated, he had asked the reporter Mr. Scotto to drop the question, then he snapped. This is not a foreign emotion. He apologized and they are going for salads. Every politician can shake hands and put on a phony smile. I appreciate genuine emotion every once in a while.

Grad Student
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