Vermont

House votes to raise federal minimum wage
Issue exposed rifts among Democrats. Legislation stalled in Senate

The House voted on Thursday to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 12:46 p.m. | The House voted 231-199 Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour incrementally over six years, but the Democratic effort was almost derailed by divisions between progressives and moderates.

Progressives on Wednesday had issued a last-minute warning to their moderate colleagues not to help Republicans make any last-minute changes to the bill through the procedural maneuver known as a motion to recommit, or MTR. If moderate Democrats helped the GOP add what the progressives considered poison pill language to the measure, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were prepared to vote against it, the group’s co-chairs, Reps. Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal, said. 

N.C. crowd chants ‘Send her back’ as Trump criticizes Omar and House ‘squad’
President also mocks Buttigieg’s last name, painting South Bend mayor as foreign policy lightweight

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday night criticized the House Democratic women known as “the squad,” zeroing in on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota as his supporters at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, chanted “Send her back!”

He contended that Omar “blamed” the United States for the 9/11 attacks and “smeared” U.S. soldiers involved in the so-called Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia in 1993.

Leahy casts his 16,000th vote, joining an exclusive Senate club
No currently serving senators have cast more career votes

Sen. Patrick Leahy cast his 16,00th vote Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“Just a little perspective, imagine taking 16,000 pennies and stacking them one on top of the other, they’d surpass the height of the Washington Monument. They’d more than double the height of the Capitol Dome,” said Schumer. “It’s a reminder that a multitude of smaller actions and the accumulation of smaller accomplishments over a lifetime of quiet dedication can amount to a great monument of achievement.”

After accolades and congratulations, Leahy had some words of his own. 

Health care continues to define, divide 2020 Democratic field
As candidates debate plans and GOP preps attacks, some early voters just tuning in

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said he would build on the 2010 health insurance overhaul enacted by President Barack Obama instead of creating a new system, a clear line of demarcation between him and several other Democrats running for the nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Declaring that “starting over makes no sense,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that he would build on Democrats’ signature 2010 health insurance overhaul and that plans offered by rivals for the presidential nomination would reverse gains made under President Barack Obama.

Biden released his plan ahead of a speech that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is to give Wednesday to promote a government-run “Medicare for All” system. It is the first of several forums hosted by AARP in Iowa, where 2020 hopefuls will talk about how to lower prescription drug prices.

As other Democratic candidates close in on Biden, Trump tries to ‘soften up the front-runner’
President calls former VP a ‘reclamation project’ after sluggish debate performance

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s sluggish performance at last month’s Democratic debate has not escaped President Donald Trump’s notice. (Getty Images file photos/Composition by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic White House front-runner Joe Biden has slipped in the polls, but President Donald Trump has only intensified his attempts to discredit and disqualify the former vice president.

In the last five days alone, the president has dubbed his potential 2020 rival “sleepy” and “a reclamation project,” suggesting in one tweet that “some things are just not salvageable.” He has asserted that China and other countries are “begging” for a President Biden so they can get back to trade tactics that “ripped us off for years.”

North Carolina gears up for competitive special election in 9th District
Voters in the 9th and 3rd districts head to polls on Sept. 10

Voters in two North Carolina districts head to the polls on Sept. 10, but only the race in the 9th District is expected to be competitive. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress and Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer/AP file photo)

With the Republican drama in North Carolina’s 3rd District primary runoff now settled, attention in the Tar Heel State shifts to the more competitive of the two House special elections to be held on Sept. 10. 

Voters in the 9th District will choose a new representative in a redo election of last fall’s contest, which was never certified because of ballot fraud connected to the GOP nominee’s campaign. 

Biden still leads the pack despite a bruising debate performance. Thank African American voters
It’s a lone bright spot in a bleak month for the former vice president

Former Vice President Joe Biden came under attack in last month’s debate over his civil rights credentials, but post-debate polls show he still maintains an edge among African American voters, Winston writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Round One of the great Democratic primary debates is over. The consensus delivered by the political class seems to be that former Vice President Joe Biden underperformed, generally failing to meet expectations. So did Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a good night, albeit only sparring with the second tier for the most part with her main competition for the far left vote, Sanders, not onstage.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg held his own. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro had a good night, while the rest of the field tried but failed to gain traction. But if polls taken since the debate are right, it was California Sen. Kamala Harris who emerged as the big winner with her surgical strike at Biden’s civil rights history and credentials.

Tom Steyer launches presidential run, but also pledges $50 million to outside groups
Billionaire makes corporate influence and climate change central themes in campaign

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer speaks to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, in January. (Steve Pope/Getty Images file photo)

Billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer jumped into the presidential race Tuesday, but he still plans to spend millions through outside groups that influenced 2018 elections for House and Senate and could do so again in 2020.

Steyer said he is resigning from groups he founded and financed, NextGen America and Need to Impeach, but is still committing $50 million to both. That could give him a unique position as a late entrant in a field of two dozen candidates as he tries to build support in states where the organizations he funds are airing ads and organizing activists.

What we can learn from the 2004 presidential race
At this point 16 years ago, John Kerry was nowhere near the top tier of Democratic primary hopefuls

Sen. John Kerry arrives in Boston on July 28, 2004 to accept the Democratic nomination for president. Kerry's candidacy was left for dead before the Iowa caucuses due to his standing in polls. His victory in Iowa changed the dynamics of the race, Rothenberg writes. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Beware of reading too much into presidential polls. Take, for example, the 2004 race.

An August 2003 CNN/USA Today/Gallup national survey found Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president, leading the party’s presidential field with 23 percent. He was trailed by former House Majority (and Minority) Leader Richard A. Gephardt (13 percent), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (12 percent) and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (10 percent).

Senate Democrats want GAO to probe Trump Independence Day spending

Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is among three Democratic Senators calling for an investigation into Fourth of July financing.(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee are asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate the costs of President Donald Trump’s Independence Day celebration and examine whether the spending is legal.

Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Tom Udall of New Mexico, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland want GAO to provide a comprehensive cost estimate for all the events, including Trump’s “Salute to America,” which was the subject of criticism for its incorporation of military equipment, potential high cost and the possibility for an apolitical holiday event to be politicized.