President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Washington, about helping the long-term unemployed.

Obama Wields Executive Power to Raise Minimum Wage

The move infuriates Republicans, who claim the president is overstepping.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Washington, about helping the long-term unemployed.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Washington, about helping the long-term unemployed.

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Despite rising anger from Republicans, President Barack Obama is moving full speed ahead in using executive power to bypass Congress when legislators don't act on his agenda.

The latest example came with Obama's signing of an executive order Wednesday increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour for federal contract workers.

"In the wealthiest nation on earth, nobody who works full time should have to live in poverty - nobody, not here in America," Obama said.

[READ: Obama's Minimum Wage Hike, Put Into Perspective]

He argued a more comprehensive minimum-wage increase would be good for the economy, but Republicans say it would cost jobs because businesses would cut back to make up for the lost revenue.

The increase signed by Obama only covers several thousand workers. Obama is urging Congress to pass legislation giving the minimum-wage increase to all workers.

He served notice, as he has done before, that he will continue to take unilateral action if Congress fails to move. Obama even got in a dig at his critics when he hosted French President Francois Hollande on a tour of Thomas Jefferson's home in Monticello, Va., on Monday. When Obama made an unplanned stop, he quipped, "That's the good thing as a president - I can do whatever I want."

[READ: Obama, Hollande Talk Global Warming With Eyes Toward U.N. Summit]

This doing-whatever-he-wants attitude is what his critics have been complaining about for many months.

Obama said in his recent State of the Union address he is prepared to act "with or without Congress" because the House Republican majority has blocked so much of his program. He has already taken unilateral action to delay key provisions of a massive health care law,  and his administration is preparing to protect large tracts of federal land by executive authority. The Environmental Protection Agency also is preparing to impose strict new limits on coal-fired power plants.

The latest Fox News poll finds that 74 percent of Americans say the president's acting independently to bypass Congress isn't the way the government ought to work. Eighty percent of independents feel this way, along with 93 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats.