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On Unemployment Rate, Obama Spikes the Football

In this photo made using a teleconverter in-between two crop factors, President Barack Obama addresses a crowd of around 15,000 during a state arrival ceremony for Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama on Friday took credit for the latest jobs report, saying the 4.9 percent rate shows his stewardship has made the U.S. economy the “strongest and most durable" in the world.  

The Labor Department on Friday released data that was a mixed bag for both American workers and the Obama administration. The numbers showed the lowest unemployment rate in eight years and rising wages; they also concluded that 151,000 new jobs were created in January, down from three consecutive months during which nearly 300,000 jobs were created per month.  

In Detroit, Parallels With Obama's Broader Economy

Obama points to his Shinola watch, which he already owned, after visiting a Shinola store in Detroit. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama jetted Wednesday to an American city whose economic revival mirrors both the U.S. economic comeback under his watch and the often negative perception of it.  

Like the ongoing recovery in Detroit and across Michigan, the U.S. economy’s comeback often has been called sluggish and uneven. And like the revival of the Motor City and surrounding areas, economic recovery and healing in the nation has been called too slow. Speaking Wednesday at the annual auto show in Detroit, Obama declared the American auto industry “all the way back.” He hailed the automobiles that U.S. companies are producing, and said the sector’s comeback has slashed the area’s unemployment rate.  

Amid ISIS Worries, Voters Warm to Obama's Economy

Will Obama get credit for the economy being less of a concern?. (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Polls show voters are giving President Barack Obama higher marks for guiding the economy, but security concerns could be clouding recent snapshots of the electorate’s mindset.  

Trends in voters’ collective worries have transformed, for now at least, the 2016 election cycle into one focused in large part on national security and foreign policy issues. In recent months, terrorism has surged to the top of lists of voters’ top concerns nearly 10 months before the presidential and congressional elections. “I don’t think that’s a reflection that the president’s policies have worked,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, a Republican up for re-election in 2016. “I’m guessing they’re saying national security is their top concern right now.  

It's A Deal: Republicans Settle for Notable Omnibus Wins

Republicans said Ryan deserved high praise for creating a more inclusive, collaborative environment in the lead-up to the omnibus negotiations. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has been offering members the same refrain since taking the gavel from John A. Boehner two months ago.  

He'd been dealt a bad hand by the old regime, according to the Wisconsin Republican, and the best thing for everyone was to make it through the end of the year so the Republican House can return to "regular order" and run the government as it should.  

Senate Food Workers to Get Raise in New Contract

Workers have been striking for over a year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After more than a year of going on strike for higher wages and union representation, Senate food workers earning minimum wage are set to get a nearly $3 per hour raise.  

A new seven-year contract for the Senate food service vendor took effect Monday, which, according to multiple sources, includes wage increases and "union neutral" language that stipulates the company is not taking a position on whether or not workers can unionize. The Architect of the Capitol negotiated the contract with Restaurant Associates and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee approved the agreement.

Paris Attacks Highlight 9/11 Health Care Bill

Sen. Mark S. Kirk was among the lawmakers calling attention to the expired 9/11 health program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Days after the terrorist attacks in Paris, first responders from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on American soil headed to the Capitol to push Congress to renew their health care programs.  

New York firefighters and other first responders joined lawmakers at a Tuesday event calling for the World Trade Center Health Program, which expired on Sept. 30, and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, to be permanently extended. The Paris attacks and other potential attacks on the United States, they contended, demonstrate the need to prove the government is committed to taking care of first responders.  

Obama, Ryan Speak Same Language on Criminal Justice Overhaul

Ryan addresses Congress on Oct. 29 after being sworn in as speaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 6:05 p.m. | Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s record suggests issues like helping former inmates find work on the outside might just be an early area of collaboration with President Barack Obama, who traveled to New Jersey Monday to unveil a list of executive actions aimed at doing just that.  

Obama wants Congress to “build on” criminal justice changes he announced Monday by sending him legislation that would rid the federal hiring process of questions about prior criminal history, an issue that earned him applause during his address at Rutgers University in Newark. With Republicans in the majority of both chambers, the president was careful to frame the criminal justice overhaul effort as bipartisan, mentioning Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.  

5 Things You Should Know About D.C.’s Proposed Paid Leave

D.C.'s proposed family leave law may change the nationwide debate. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Washington, D.C., is poised to become the jurisdiction with the most generous paid family leave plan in the country , but its effects on the area's federal workers are complicated. D.C.’s plan, which has the support of seven of the city’s 13 councilmembers and is expected to move forward, would provide 16 weeks paid family leave for District residents and for residents of nearby states who work for private companies based in the District.  

Federal workers are the odd hybrid. District residents who work for the federal government, including those who work on Capitol Hill, would be eligible for the paid leave. Residents of nearby states who work for the government would not be.  

McCarthy's Benghazi Gaffe Becomes All-Purpose White House, Hillary Clinton Defense (Video)

McCarthy's had better weeks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When in doubt, talk up Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's epic Benghazi gaffe. That's the plan of attack from the White House, the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign and Democrats on Capitol Hill, who clearly hope his remark will be the gift that keeps on giving.  

The new plans for a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood? More politics like the Benghazi committee, said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday. Earnest weaved the idea of another committee into a stew of Republican headlines in the last month — from Speaker John A. Boehner retiring amid an internecine shutdown fight to the Benghazi remarks of McCarthy of California, his likely replacement.

D.C. Paid Leave Law May Change Hill Staff Income Taxes

Hill staff who are District residents may face new taxes under a proposed paid leave law. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hill staffers who are District residents could see a new line on their tax forms if D.C.’s proposed paid leave plan becomes law: a special tax for residents whose employers, such as the federal government, are not paying into D.C.’s Family and Medical Leave Fund.  

The additional tax would not be more than 1 percent of a individual's salary, according to Jeffrey Hayes, a study director with the Institute for Women's Policy Research, who has studied the costs and benefits of paid leave for workers, employers and communities. Hayes added that the proposal anticipates contributions will drop below 1 percent once the program is up and running, and that evidence suggests it is possible to have a self-sustaining family and medical leave insurance system at that level. Contrary to initial information provided about the nascent proposal, District residents who are employed by the federal government, including on Capitol Hill , do not need to opt-in to receive the 16 weeks paid family and medical leave. Rather, up to 1 percent of a district resident’s income would be collected as part of an income tax calculation if their employer, such as the federal government, is not making a contribution.