wage

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a ‘living wage’ starts in her office
New York Democrat will pay staffers no less than $52,000 a year

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, center, and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, third from right, arrive with staff members for a press conference on the Green New Deal outside the Capitol on Feb. 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Claudia Pagon Marchena, like so many Hill staffers, moonlighted at a Washington, D.C., eatery to pay her rent until she took a job with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She celebrated her last day at her coffee shop job that same week.

That’s because Ocasio-Cortez, who has called on fellow lawmakers to pay their staffs a “living wage,” is making an example out of her own office. The New York Democrat has introduced an unusual policy that no one on her staff will make less than $52,000 a year — an almost unheard of amount for many of the 20-somethings whose long hours make House and Senate offices run.

Bill would honor Rep. Walter Jones by repealing AUMF
Late North Carolina Republican was among the fiercest critics of 2001 military force authorization

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., motions to an aide during a news conference in 2011 to announce legislation he co-sponsored calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

A new bill named after the late Rep. Walter B. Jones, who left behind a legacy of dogged opposition to war, would repeal the military force authorization passed in the days after the 9/11 attacks.

Colleagues and constituents have heaped praise on the longtime North Carolina Republican, who died Sunday on his 76th birthday and whose funeral will be held Thursday at his parish church in Greenville.

Note to Ocasio-Cortez and Green New Dealers: The economy is not the government
Like old New Deal, plan promises much and will produce little

Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey, center, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others hold a press conference on the Green New Deal outside the Capitol on Feb. 7. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — In the final debate of the 2010 British general election, Conservative Party leader David Cameron told his Labour Party rival, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that “Labour seem to confuse the economy with the government.” A month later, Cameron had Brown’s job. 

Given the proposals in the Democrats’ Green New Deal — whose bungled release last week made for some sorely needed comic moments in an otherwise grim Washington — their leading economist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, could learn something important from Cameron’s spot-on observation about what drives a successful economy. A hint: It isn’t government.

What the shutdown taught us about paid family leave
What those government employees endured is a sobering reality for many low-wage workers every day

Federal workers and contractors, along with their unions, stage a protest calling for an end to the government shutdown in January. With the fight fresh in the nation’s mind, it’s time to talk about paid family leave. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The recent government shutdown opened the nation’s eyes to what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. Many federal workers and contractors had to make difficult choices between putting food on the table or paying their bills. What these government employees endured is, unfortunately, a sobering reality for many low-wage workers every day.

When you add to this mix a new baby, a seriously ill parent, or a cancer diagnosis requiring time away from work for tests and treatment, you have a recipe for disaster for low-wage workers. Taking time off without pay just isn’t an option — it means no rent, no heat, or no medications.

Democrats unveil Green New Deal that would push government to make radical changes
The resolution would force lawmakers to take a position on the deal, and its goals of remaking the U.S. economy within a decade

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez listens as Sen. Ed Markey speaks as Democrats announce their Green New Deal resolution outside of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A resolution outlining the goals of an ambitious progressive plan to overhaul the U.S. economy across all sectors, from finance to energy to social services, was rolled out Thursday with the aim of driving future legislation.

The Green New Deal resolution sponsored in the House by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and in the Senate by Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey cites urgent warnings in two recent major climate reports to compel the federal government to act urgently on the radical changes they say would make the U.S. resilient and sustainable across all sectors.

One speech, two Trumps
Despite softer touches, president’s State of the Union still divides

President Donald Trump greets lawmakers as he prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican lawmakers stood and roared Tuesday night as President Donald Trump described the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as a hellscape awash in drugs and violent criminals moving freely into the country. Democrats sat statuesque and silent, displaying no sign that his call for cross-party cooperation resonated inside the House chamber.

Trump stood before Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and delivered what has become customary for Republican and Democratic presidents alike, saying that the state of the country is “strong” and that the American people hope “we will govern not as two parties but as one nation.”

Trump’s audience in the House chamber isn’t the one that matters
Forget the pomp and antics. The electorate is growing increasingly impatient. This State of the Union is for them

House Democrats pose for photos before the State of the Union. They’re not the audience that counts, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Let’s start with the fact that I’m writing this before, not after, the State of the Union. (Deadlines are sometimes inconvenient.) So, with that caveat in place, I’m going to suggest that whatever Donald Trump said in his speech, whatever antics the Democrats planned to distract and disrupt the proceedings, what matters most isn’t the reaction in the House chamber or the post-speech punditry. What matters is whether the president’s words and his vision for the future connect with a decidedly divided American public.

It’s an understatement to say that there isn’t much that partisan America seems to agree on these days. Still, most voters — Republicans, Democrats and independents — would probably agree that State of the Unions are usually long, dull laundry lists of accomplishments and proposals, preceded in the days leading up to them by great expectations, at least inside the Beltway. Ask anyone on the street six months after Barack Obama’s last SOTU or Donald Trump’s first to tell you what either said, and you’ll probably get more blank stares than recollections, good or bad.

Democrats are tweaking Trump with their State of the Union guests
Federal contractors, mothers separated from their children at the border are on the list

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-New Jersey, will be accompanied to the State of the Union by Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant who worked as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The floor belongs to Donald Trump for around an hour, maybe more, but the crowd can still speak volumes.

The lawmakers squeezed into the House chamber on Tuesday night probably won’t be yelling back as the president tells them that the state of the union is strong. (Joe Wilson, of “You lie” fame, already tried that with Barack Obama.)

K Street women seek closer ties to female lawmakers
“The aim is to support the growth of women running for office”

A collection of female lobbyists and organizations is launching a new bipartisan effort, called 131 & Counting, to build connections with the unprecedented number of women serving in Congress and to encourage more women to run for office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 131 female lawmakers on Capitol Hill have inspired a new collaboration on K Street that swaps in girl power for the ol’ boys club.

A collection of female lobbyists and organizations is launching a new bipartisan effort, called 131 & Counting, to fete the unprecedented number of women serving in the House and Senate (including four nonvoting delegates), to build connections with them, and to encourage more women to run for office.

Corporate rate increase could hinder economic growth, CBO director says
Hall said raising the tax would likely reduce business investment

Keith Hall testified before the House Budget Committee on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall said raising the corporate income tax rate as many Democrats want to do could slow down economic growth and wage increases.

He also said during a House Budget Committee hearing that it’s not clear that raising the tax above the current 21 percent rate would produce deficit savings.