Business groups and some members of Congress have criticized the administration for proposing a 10 percent increase in the federal minimum wage, which would require the construction industry to pay its workers $15 an hour or about $20 per hour less than it does now.
They also have said the proposed wage hike would increase the costs of hiring workers and reduce the number of jobs that could be created as a result.
However, the administration on Thursday released a plan to raise the minimum wage that would include a 15 percent increase for construction companies that have more than 100 employees.
That increase is for the first time in nearly three decades.
It would also include a temporary increase for companies that hire contractors, including for new construction.
The proposal would also provide an additional $5,000 a year to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for every dollar of payroll that is not offset by the new federal minimum.
A group of business groups is calling on the administration to delay the proposal for at least six months so that it can consider the impacts of the increase on the economy.
The White House is looking to raise wages for construction workers and contractors by as much as 10 percent and $5 an hour over the next year.
“Our proposal is based on a solid foundation of research and research findings,” White House spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.
“We have long called for a minimum wage increase that is consistent with economic growth, not just the economic pain that some people are experiencing today.”
The proposal is part of a broader effort by the administration and congressional Democrats to increase the minimum income for the bottom 99 percent.
The administration has long argued that the minimum should be $7.25 an hour.
The federal minimum is $7, or about a third of the average wage in many states.
The House and Senate are expected to pass their own versions of a $15 minimum wage bill later this year.
The debate over the minimum is a hot button issue in the Democratic Party and is expected to play a role in presidential debates.
The Senate Democrats plan to vote next week on a minimum income bill that would allow people to earn up to $10 an hour, while the House plan would give workers $9.50 an hour and increase the federal poverty level to $13,000 for a family of four.
The two bills have broad support in both chambers.
The Republican-led House will consider the bill next week.
The minimum wage debate has also played out in other areas.
For instance, some workers at fast-food restaurants and retail stores, which pay much less than minimum wage and have been making minimum wage for decades, have protested for months, saying they have been left out of the gains.