Heated debate underway over raising federal minimum wage

President Obama would like to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 dollars an hour.

It stood at $5.15 an hour at the end of the Clinton Administration. Six years ago it was raised in stages until it hit $7.25 an hour.

It hasn't budged in four years.

Protests have been held across the country in at least seven cities this week by fast-food workers, striking for better pay and the right to unionize.

Workers demanded a minimum wage increase from $7.25 to between $9 and just over $10 an hour.

Walkouts and demonstrations were also held at restaurants including McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's locations around New York City.

Workers in New York City are demanding $15 an hour.

Supporters say, an industry that earns billions can afford to pay workers better. Some groups think the federal minimum wage should be even higher. Some democrats think the president's call for a higher federal minimum wage is long overdue.

Critics say raising the federal minimum wage could cause residual effects. They say employers will likely hire fewer workers, or won't expand into cities that need them.

In Washington D.C. a proposal requiring higher wages at big-box retailers has Walmart saying it'll cancel construction on three of its six new stores.