Progressives Happy With a Half-Win on Minimum Wage

Obama’s coming executive action will affect only a fraction of the federal workforce. The Progressive Caucus cochairman is still pumped.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during a news conference January 16, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House Democrats held a news conference to announce new legislation to eliminate the federal debt ceiling.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
Jan. 28, 2014, 4:25 a.m.

It doesn’t mat­ter that Pres­id­ent Obama will an­nounce rais­ing the min­im­um wage for only a frac­tion of the fed­er­al work­force — pro­gress­ives are ec­stat­ic.

“I’m pumped up,” Pro­gress­ive Caucus Co­chair­man Keith El­lis­on said this morn­ing. “I’m so happy that I’m play­ing Brazili­an mu­sic here.”

The Min­nesota Demo­crat led an ef­fort to push Pres­id­ent Obama to raise the min­im­um wage for work­ers on fed­er­al con­tracts. And low-wage fed­er­al con­tract work­ers have been protest­ing for an in­crease in pay, since rais­ing the min­im­um wage for all work­ers has been a heavy lift in Con­gress. Obama will an­nounce at to­night’s State of the Uni­on that he will raise the wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for these work­ers. But it’s only for work­ers on new con­tracts, rep­res­ent­ing sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand work­ers. Des­pite that, pro­gress­ives are de­clar­ing a win.

“We feel great about it. To me, it’s evid­ence that act­iv­ism works. If you pe­ti­tion your gov­ern­ment peace­fully for the right thing, something that helps people,” it will hap­pen, El­lis­on said. “It’s not al­ways on your timeline…. This is not a com­plete vic­tory, but we also un­der­stood that half of something is bet­ter than all of noth­ing.”

Sen. Tom Har­kin, the lead­ing Sen­ate ad­voc­ate for a fed­er­al min­im­um wage in­crease, is pleased, too. But he isn’t sat­is­fied. “This ex­ec­ut­ive or­der is a strong step in the right dir­ec­tion, and I am grate­ful for Pres­id­ent Obama’s lead­er­ship,” the Iowa Demo­crat said in a state­ment. “But as I know the pres­id­ent would agree, it’s only a first step.”

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
16 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
1 days ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
1 days ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
2 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login