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September 3, 2015

Posts in "Income Inequality"

May 22, 2015

Moderate Democrats Get Leadership’s Ear on 2016 Messaging

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Israel has a tough road ahead in crafting a party message everyone can get behind (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s some good news for the moderate House Democrats who believe they’ve been marginalized in discussions on party messaging: Leadership might be starting to listen.

On Thursday morning, New Democrat Coalition Chairman Ron Kind of Wisconsin met privately with Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, both lawmakers confirmed to CQ Roll Call.
Full story

March 27, 2015

Did Van Hollen Miss a Layup Opportunity With Progressives? (Updated)

UNITED STATES - JUNE 17: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., participates in the National Press Club Newsmaker Program with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on "future federal budget priorities and methods to achieve them" at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Van Hollen surprised some progressives when he didn’t vote for their budget this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:42 p.m. | Congressional Progressive Caucus members were emboldened this week.

Their fiscal 2016 budget proposal won 96 votes on the floor, which translates into half of all House Democrats endorsing the policy platform of one third of the whole House Democratic Caucus — plus a higher threshold than for any CPC budget ever before.

Full story

March 3, 2015

Centrist New Democrats Want Bigger Role in Party’s Message

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the bipartisan news conference outside of the Capitol to unveil "a major proposal aimed at modernizing America's regulatory system to reduce compliance costs, encourage growth and innovation, and improve national competitiveness" on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind said the centrist group wants a bigger role in helping to shape Democrats’ message. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Members of the New Democrat Coalition have struggled for years to make their centrist message heard in the larger, and distinctly more left-leaning, House Democratic Caucus.

The 46 self-described “moderate” and “pro-growth” House members in the coalition say they agree with the rest of their caucus on “90 percent of the issues” — it’s the remaining 10 percent that’s harder to summarize. Full story

February 2, 2015

Parties Split on Obama Budget, but Not on ‘Groundhog Day’

Hoyer, D-Md., speaks as House Democrats hold a news conference to call for presidential action on immigration on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hoyer and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle couldn’t resist getting in a few “Groundhog Day” jibes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama has released his fiscal 2016 budget and the reviews are in: Democrats love it, Republicans hate it.

Democrats and Republicans spent Monday trading jibes over Obama’s multi-agency spending blueprint as well as the latest GOP attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle unable to resist using “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray’s classic 1993 comedy, to hammer home their respective messages. Full story

January 29, 2015

Obama Fires Up House Democrats (Updated)

US President Barack Obama delivers the State of The Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.  Credit: Mandel Ngan / Pool Copyright ©2015 Agence France Presse Photos

Obama told Democrats to take credit for the improving economy (Mandel Ngan/AFP File Photo)

Updated 10:55 p.m. | PHILADELPHIA — A fiery President Barack Obama addressed House Democrats Thursday night, saying while there’s more work to do in restoring the economy, Democrats can’t be shy about what they’ve already accomplished.

His remarks, delivered in the ballroom of a Sheraton hotel on the second evening of the House Democratic retreat, were tailored to the caucus’s new strategy: Focus the party’s message on growing the middle class and take full credit for the nation’s economic recovery of the past six years.
Full story

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the DCCC, speaks at the National Press Club's Newsmaker series on how Rep. Paul Ryan's, R-Wis., budget will effect the midterm elections. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Israel says Democrats are behind the new “middle class” focus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Democrats are united around a new messaging strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to Rep. Steve Israel of New York.

“Middle class, middle class and middle class,” the chairman of a newly created Democratic Policy and Communication Committee told reporters on Thursday morning. Full story

January 28, 2015

White House Helping Democrats Shape Message to Middle Class

Kind, D-Wisc., speaks during the bipartisan news conference outside of the Capitol to unveil "a major proposal aimed at modernizing America's regulatory system to reduce compliance costs, encourage growth and innovation, and improve national competitiveness" on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kind is one of the Democrats championing more “aspirational” messaging. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The same day House Democrats are set to go to their annual issues conference in Philadelphia to discuss messaging for the 2016 election cycle, among other things, the caucus’s new messaging group held its inaugural meeting on Capitol Hill.

The newly minted, 16-member Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, which was tailored specifically to be led by recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, heard Wednesday morning from David Simas, the White House director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. Full story

May 19, 2014

Pelosi Calls on Berkeley Graduates to Be ‘Disruptors’

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi channeled Silicon Valley in her May 17 commencement address at the University of California, Berkeley, calling on graduates to be “disruptors.”

“Our founders were successful disruptors of the then-status quo,” the California Democrat said. “Being called a disruptor, in my view, is a very high compliment.”

Pelosi noted Berkeley’s history of disruption, citing the free-speech protests of the 1960s led by civil rights activist Mario Savio.

Savio’s message, Pelosi said, was only as fast as the tools of that time, namely, radio and television.

“Now, it’s all about you,” Pelosi said. “What you can do with your freedom to speak out, with the tools of our time: Instagram and YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.” Full story

April 29, 2014

Rangel: Tea Party Does Not ‘Believe the Union Won’ Civil War (Video)

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

During the Congressional Black Caucus’ special order hour on the House floor Monday night, Rep. Charles B. Rangel hammered the tea party not only for embracing the Confederate flag, but also for hating President Barack Obama “as much as their [Dixiecrat] predecessors probably hated Abe Lincoln.”

“[In] some parts of the United States of America they don’t believe that the Union won. The reason I come to that conclusion is that … I have never seen so many Confederate flags that represent groups that are proud of the fact that they call themselves the Tea Party,” the New York Democrat said during his 10-minute floor speech, referring to an event he attended with President Ulysses S. Grant’s great-great-grandson. “They’re from that part of the country that the states owned slaves.”

 

 

Rangel, the second most senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has pushed the White House to do more to combat poverty and inequality. The Senate recently passed an extension of unemployment benefits and there are new signs  the House may take up legislation on an immigration overhaul.

April 26, 2014

Obama Pressures GOP on Unemployment Extension, Minimum Wage

President Barack Obama continues to keep up the drumbeat for an unemployment extension and a minimum wage hike, but neither issue appears any closer to a reality in Congress.

The president is taking his case to the airwaves and social media, using his advocacy arm, Organizing for Action, to try and pressure the GOP. Full story

April 8, 2014

Republicans: Democrats Using Women as Pawns in Pay Debate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Senate poised to act this week on the gender pay gap, Republicans pushed back again Tuesday against the notion the GOP is waging a “war on women,” with GOP leaders accusing Democrats of using women as “pawns” to score political points.

Republican leaders wouldn’t say at their Tuesday morning news conference whether they’d bring their own legislative solution to the floor, focusing instead on rebutting Democrats’ “Equal Pay Day” criticisms that the GOP is anti-woman. 

“Women understand the direct impact of the policies and the impact that they have on them, so on this Equal Pay Day, I would urge us to stop politicizing women and let’s start focusing on those policies that are actually going to help women and everyone else in this country have a better life,” said House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. “Let’s focus on those policies that are actually going to move forward on a jobs plan that will create a higher paycheck, [and] more opportunities … for a better life we all want.” Full story

April 7, 2014

Democrats Request CBO Analysis of Ryan Budget’s Impact on Poverty

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The latest Ryan budget is no more likely than its predecessors to become law. But as with those those earlier documents, this year’s spending blueprint is giving both parties plenty of election-year ammunition.

Democrats, looking for some policy heft to leverage their political talking points, have asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the impact on poverty of Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s fiscal 2015 budget.

“Our budgets serve as an important tool for expressing Congress’s level of support for domestic anti-poverty initiatives and prioritizing investments in opportunity,” Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., wrote in a Monday letter to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf. “Such an analysis will aid Members of Congress in making an informed decision on whether Chairman Ryan’s budget will improve or worsen the state of poverty in America.”

Full story

February 18, 2014

CBO Minimum Wage Report Portends Poorly for Democratic Discharge Petition

A Congressional Budget Office report on the minimum wage has posed an old question to Capitol Hill: Are you willing to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs to give higher wages to millions?

The CBO report, which was released Tuesday and has drawn criticism from some Democrats and the White House, said increasing the minimum wage would have two main effects on low-wage workers:

“Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold. But some jobs for low-wage workers would probably be eliminated, the income of most workers who became jobless would fall substantially, and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would probably fall slightly.”

The report, at the request of lawmakers, studied the effects of raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour — as the president proposed a year ago — and $10.10 per hour as he proposed this year and as the so-called “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013″ would do after two years, subsequently indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

The effect of raising the wage to $9 per hour, according to the CBO, would be a net loss of 100,000 jobs but higher wages for approximately 7.6 million people. In turn, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would result in 500,000 jobs lost but raise wages for 16.5 million, according to the analysis. Full story

February 14, 2014

Obama Credits Democratic Unity for Debt Limit Victory

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — President Barack Obama credited House Democrats’ party unity for getting Republican leaders to back off debt limit brinkmanship at the caucus’s annual retreat here.

“This caucus has shown, time and time again, under the most difficult circumstances, the kind of courage and unity and discipline that has made me very, very proud,” Obama said on Friday morning.

There’s no better example, Obama said, than the vote to raise the debt ceiling earlier this week, which passed the House with all but two Democrats voting “yes” — and only 28 Republicans.

“I was just talking to [Minority Leader] Nancy [Pelosi] before I came out here,” he continued. “The fact that we are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions, the fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit, is just one example of why, when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off, and I could not be more proud.”

Obama’s comments followed remarks by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was originally slated to address the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday but had to reschedule due to inclement weather.

While Biden delivered something of a pep talk to Democrats framed in the context of the 2014 election cycle, Obama steered clear of such rhetoric; in fact, he made no mention at all of the November elections.

But Obama did energize the crowd of lawmakers assembled in a Hyatt Regency ballroom on Friday morning by promising to continue to sign executive orders on specific policy issues on which House Republican refused to budge.

“I want to work with Congress, but I’m not gonna wait, because there’s too much to do,” he said.

Obama conceded that there are some areas in which he could not enact change through his now-infamous “pen and phone” strategy, such as an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system and an increase in the minimum wage across all work sectors.

In those areas, Democrats would have to show resilience on their own.

“Punting and putting things off for another year, another two years, another three years, it hurts people, it hurts our economies, it hurts families and part of what I like to think makes us Democrats is not simply some abstract ideological set of beliefs but the fact that we’re reminded every single day that we’re here to help a whole bunch of folks out there, our neighbors, our communities who are struggling still and need our help and they’re counting on us,” Obama said.

“Good thing is, they got some outstanding members of Congress who are willing to fight for them,” he continued, “regardless of the political costs.”

January 28, 2014

McMorris Rodgers Delivers GOP SOTU Response

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers didn’t say “Obama” or “Obamacare” even once during her delivery of the GOP’s official response to the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

It was a notable choice for the Washington state lawmaker, who has focused her leadership role over the past year on trying to change the public perception of the GOP through, among other things, more refined talking points and carefully considered rhetoric.

McMorris Rodgers was chosen by her party’s predominantly male leadership to serve as a new face of the Republican Party of the 21st century, a kindler, gentler, more inclusive Republican Party that voting blocs of all stripes might be able to get behind in the midterm elections later this year.  Full story

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