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Posts in "Income Inequality"
May 19, 2014
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
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
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
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
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.”
February 18, 2014
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
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.”
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
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
January 23, 2014
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington will deliver the annual GOP response to the State of the Union, party leaders announced Thursday.
McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, will deliver the response address directly after President Barack Obama speaks on Jan. 28.
“I am honored to speak with Americans in every corner of the country on Tuesday and to share our Republican vision for a better future – one that trusts the American people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started,” McMorris Rodgers said in a statement.
Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced the address in a statement, along with a biographical video, highlighting the congresswoman’s family — she has a son, Cole, who has Down syndrome — and her humble beginnings, including the fact that she was the first member of her family to graduate from college.
In an election year during which Democrats want to make hay of income inequality and how government policies can help the middle class, McMorris Rodgers will deliver the GOP side of the narrative, focusing on self-determination and small government.
“Cathy McMorris Rodgers is proof that with humility, hard work and dedication, you can overcome any obstacle – a story to which many Americans can relate,” Boehner said in the statement. “Through the lens of her family’s experiences, Cathy will share our vision for a better America built on a thriving middle class, guided by a fierce belief in life and liberty, and grounded in greater trust between citizens and their government.”
“Cathy McMorris Rodgers is an excellent choice to present the Republican Address and share an alternative approach to the President’s plans to grow an already enormous federal bureaucracy,” McConnell said. “Her experience, hard work and commitment to family provide an example that Americans outside the halls of Congress understand. A strong advocate of empowering citizens rather than just the federal government, Cathy is the right choice to deliver this important address.”
McMorris Rodgers first rose to prominence as the conference vice chairwoman during the 112th Congress, and ascended in the party ranks to claim the chairmanship in this Congress, despite a heated challenge from Rep. Tom Price of Georgia. Her allies at the time spoke of the importance of lifting a GOP woman into leadership, particularly as they tried to weather Democratic attacks that the party is out of touch on policy affecting women.
This is not the first time a Republican woman delivered the State of the Union response. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee for the response in 2000.
January 8, 2014
Democrats may have taken up income inequality as their election-year campaign platform, but Republicans appear determined to not let their counterparts own the subject.
To the annoyance of some Democrats, six members of the conservative Republican Study Committee held a news conference Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “war on poverty” and to call for a different tactic to address indigence in this nation — one that is leaner on direct aid and more robust in job creation.
“While this war may have been launched with the best of intentions, it’s clear we’re now engaged in a battle of attrition that has left more Americans in poverty than at any other point in our nation’s history,” Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., said at the beginning of the news conference, noting that more than 46 million Americans live in poverty today. He did not point out, however, that even though the raw number of poverty-stricken people has increased, the percentage of poor Americans has fallen from 19 percent when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his “unconditional war on poverty” in 1964 to about 15 percent today.
Southerland, the chairman of the RSC’s anti-poverty initiative, said that in the 50 years of the war on poverty, the government has spent more than $15 trillion on programs designed to combat those issues.
“Clearly, the big government ideas of the past need to be improved and aren’t working to the extent that they should,” Southerland said. ”We have a moral obligation to break the mold.”
Southerland said there were three pillars to fighting poverty: two-parent families, quality education and a stable job.
“Over the next year, we will be bringing interested members together to discuss conservative solutions that empower individuals and not the federal government,” he said. Full story