Progressive Breakfast: ‘Raising Wages’ Is The Latest Battle Cry In The Fight For Workers


campaignForAmericaLgoMore than 300 progressive activists and labor leaders on Wednesday embraced “raising wages” as the theme of a series of battles in 2015 to reverse policies that have led to record levels of income inequality and a shrinking middle class. “We are tired of people talking about inequality as if nothing can be done,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at the “Raising Wages” summit in Washington. “The answer is simple: Raise the wages of the 90 percent of Americans whose wages are lower today than they were in 1997.”

Obama Cheerleads Economy As Warren Warns

Obama talks up economic progress in Detroit as argument to do more for middle-class. W. Post:“…it’s important for us to hear some good news, not to make us complacent, but to give us confidence that if we work harder we can make even more good news.”

While Sen. Warren tells AFL-CIO “wage summit” that “middle-class is in deep trouble”:“The trickle-down experiment that began in the Reagan years failed America’s middle class … We need to talk about how to build a future … We believe in making investments – in roads and bridges and power grids, in education, in research … [And] make sure that we pay—and corporations pay—a fair share to build a future for all of us.”

Check out video and transcripts from AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages.

Obama’s Michigan audience worries about trade agreements. Reuters:“…his push for new trade agreements is controversial in Michigan, where advocates and local officials say a Korean free trade agreement has helped that country’s auto industry significantly more than the U.S. sector.”

Obama To Announce New Mortgage Policy

Obama to speak on housing policy today. AZ Republic:“President Barack Obama will announce Thursday in Phoenix a plan to cut the mortgage insurance in half for most first-time homebuyers and some existing owners [which is] expected to save the typical buyer $900 a year in mortgage insurance costs, and allow 250,000 more families buy their first U.S. home…”

Too modest, say critics. NYT:“The president is only tinkering around the edges, said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, the real estate website. Mr. Obama’s new proposal and others like it will have little impact until incomes rise more broadly, savings expand and young adults dump their roommates and move out of their parents’ houses.”

Congress Moves To Weaken Obamacare

House to vote on making it easier for employers to skirt health insurance mandate. Politico:“The House will vote again on Thursday to lengthen Obamacare’s full-time workweek definition to 40 hours, but the Senate has work to do … Lobbyists backing the workweek bill said they haven’t yet lined up the 60 votes … many Democrats and even some prominent conservative policy experts say the change will do more harm than good … Millions more people work a traditional 40-hour workweek than the 30-hour range, so putting the cutoff at 40 may give employers an incentive to game the hours of a much larger group of workers.”‘

Obama would veto reports USA Today.

Cost growth of premiums has slowed. McClatchy:“Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia saw slower growth in job-based health insurance premiums after the Affordable Care Act became law … But because of slow wage growth, average annual health insurance premiums ate up 20 percent or more of household income in 37 states in 2013 … Of the 31 states that saw a slowdown in premium growth, 12 experienced declines of three percent or more…”

GOP Short Of Votes On Keystone

Keystone short of veto-proof majority. Politico:“That requires a hefty 67 votes in the Senate, and so far, the bill has an estimated 63 supporters. Corralling four other ‘yes’ votes will prove to be a difficult, and perhaps impossible, task.”

First offshore wind project suffers blow. NYT:“Cape Wind, a massive wind farm proposed in Nantucket Sound, has been dealt a setback that threatens its finances … NStar and National Grid, the two largest utilities in Massachusetts, which had agreed to buy three-fourths of the wind farm’s power, said late Tuesday that they were canceling their contracts because Cape Wind had failed to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to complete financing and begin construction.”

EPA has plan for states that don’t comply with climate regs. NYT:“The Environmental Protection Agency will force states to comply with a federal ‘model rule’ to cut their carbon emissions if the states do not submit customized plans under the Obama administration’s new climate change regulations…”

“Much of world’s fossil fuel reserve must stay buried” reports The Guardian:“Vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned.”

Momentum For Gas Tax Hike

Another GOP senator opens door to gas tax hike. The Hill:“Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) defended the gas tax and said that it is one of the methods on the table as the Environment and Public Works Committee figures out how to better fund infrastructure projects … ‘It’s not a tax. It’s a user fee,’ he said. ‘A user fee is different from taxes.’”

Top Senate Dem agrees. Politico:“‘Now’s the time do it. But we ought to do it in a thoughtful way,’ [Sen. Dick] Durbin said, adding that the regressive nature of the gas tax must be confronted to shield lower- and middle-income drivers. ‘We’ve got to find some tax relief for them.’”

Food Safety


48 Million: About 48 million people in the US (1 in 6 people) get sick from contaminated food each year. CDC Vital Signs.

Each year, roughly 1 in 6 people in the US gets sick from eating contaminated food. The 1,000 or more reported outbreaks that happen each year reveal familiar culprits—Salmonella and other common germs. We know that reducing contamination works.

Remember to practice food safety.

 

Just in: the new food revolution starts NOW


 {UCS
Tell President Obama it’s time for a National Food Policy.

Mr. President, we want a food revolution.

Our food and agriculture system is broken. A National Food Policy would transform our food system to ensure healthy, sustainably grown food for all.

ACTION ALERT
Tell President Obama: It’s Time for a National Food Policy

 

Have you heard? In this weekend’s Washington Post, UCS joined prominent food leaders Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and Olivier de Schutter in a call to President Obama. It urges the president to do something bold and necessary: issue an executive order establishing a National Food Policy.

We all know our food and agriculture system is broken. For decades, UCS has demonstrated the costs of diet-related disease, the environmental toll of industrial agriculture practices, and the iron grip corporate giants have on information about what we eat. Government policies have contributed to this mess, and legislative attempts to fix it have been disjointed, lacked a clear direction, and often just made the problems worse.

A national policy for food, health, and well-being would, for the first time, define a comprehensive vision for our health, the sustainability of agricultural lands, and social and economic justice. It’s the first step toward the massive overhaul that we need to transform our food system to ensure healthy, sustainably grown food for all.

This won’t happen overnight. But right now, the real work begins—with you.

Sign the petition today to tell President Obama that you want a National Food Policy.

Take Action

Sincerely,
Ashley Elles
Ashley Elles
National Field Organizer
Food & Environment Program
Union of Concerned Scientists
Twitter: @acelles

the Senate ~~~ 114th CONGRESS1/8 ~~~ the House


capitol29

 

The Senate stands adjourned until 11:00am on Thursday, January 8, 2015.

Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.

Pryor to adjourning, Senator McConnell announced that the Energy Committee is scheduled to mark up the Keystone bill. He hopes to consider that bill next week. In addition, the Senate could consider the TRIA bill as early as tomorrow, Thursday, January 8. Roll call votes are possible during Thursday’s session.

 

After the Senate convened, we reached an agreement to consider the TRIA legislation. Under the agreement, there will be 2 roll call votes beginning at 1:45pm today. Those votes will be in relation to the Warren amendment and passage of the TRIA bill, as amended, if amended. Each are subject to a 60-majority vote threshold. No other amendments or motions are in order to the bill, aside from budget points of order, if applicable. Senator McConnell then moved to proceed to Calendar #1, S.1, a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

 

1:45pm—2 roll call votes:

 

  1. Warren substitute amendment (TRIA minus end user provision)
  2. Passage of H..R.26, Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, as amended, if amended.

The Senate has begun consideration of H.R.26, TRIA. The time until 1:45pm will be equally divided in the usual form.

 

At 1:45pm, there will be 2 roll call votes on the following items:

 

  1. Warren substitute amendment  (TRIA minus end user provision)
  2. Passage of H..R.26, Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, as amended, if amended.

1:45pm The Senate began a 15 minute roll call vote on Warren amendment #1 (TRIA minus end user) to HR.26, TRIA;

Not Agreed To: 31-66

 

Next:

  1. Passage of H..R.26, Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, as amended, if amended.

2:13pm The Senate began a 15 minute roll call vote on passage of H.R.26, TRIA;

Passed: 93-4

Senator McConnell asked unanimous consent that at 2:00pm on Monday, January 12th, the motion to proceed to the consideration of S.1, a bill to approve the Keystone pipeline, be agreed to;  and that Senator Murkowski be recognized to offer a substitute amendment that is the text of the committee-reported bill.

 

Senator Whitehouse objected.

 

Senator McConnell then filed cloture on the motion to proceed to Calendar #1, S.1, a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. By consent, the cloture vote on the motion to proceed will occur at 5:30pm on Monday, January 12th.

WRAP UP

  1. Warren amendment #1 to H.R.26, TRIA; Not agreed to: 31-66.
  2. Passage of H.R.26, Terrorism Risk Insurance Act; Passed: 93-4.
  3. Legislative Business

Agreed to S.Con.Res.2, Use of Emancipation Hall

Adopted S.Res.23, Majority Party Appointments with Chairman

Adopted S.Res.24, 150th Anniversary of Bowie State University

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Last Floor Action:
4:37:02 P.M. – SPECIAL ORDER SPEECHES – The House has concluded all anticipated legislative business and has proceeded to Special Order speeches.

Last Floor Action:1/7
4:50:58 P.M. – The House adjourned.

The next meeting is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on January 8, 2015.

10:00:20 A.M. The House convened, starting a new legislative day.
10:00:32 A.M. The Speaker designated the Honorable David W. Jolly to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.
10:00:59 A.M. MORNING-HOUR DEBATE – The House proceeded with Morning-Hour Debate. At the conclusion of Morning-Hour, the House will recess until 12:00 p.m. for the start of legislative business.

0:40:58 A.M. The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is scheduled for 12:00 P.M. today.
12:00:17 P.M. The House convened, returning from a recess continuing the legislative day of January 8.
12:00:28 P.M. Today’s prayer was offered by the House Chaplain, Rev. Patrick J. Conroy.
12:01:38 P.M. The Speaker announced approval of the Journal. Pursuant to clause 1, rule I, the Journal stands approved.
12:01:42 P.M. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The Chair designated Ms. Adams to lead the Members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
12:02:09 P.M. ADMINISTRATION OF THE OATH OF OFFICE – The Speaker administered the Oath of Office to Members-elect of the 114th Congress who were absent during the Oath of Office administered on January 6, 2015.
12:02:10 P.M. ADJUSTMENT OF WHOLE HOUSE – Under clause 5(d) of rule 20, the Chair announced to the House that, in light of the administration of the oath to the gentleman from California and the gentleman from Minnesota, the whole number of the House is 430.
12:03:09 P.M. ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with one minute speeches which by direction of the Chair, would be limited to 15 per side of the aisle.
12:03:10 P.M. The House received a message from the Clerk. Purusant to the permission granted in Clause 2(h) of Rule II of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Clerk notified the House that she had received a message from the Secretary of the Senate on January 8, 2015, at 9:24 a.m., stating that that body had agreed to S. Res. 19.
12:26:13 P.M. H. Res. 19 Considered as privileged matter. H. Res. 19 — “Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3) to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 30) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 30-hour threshold for classification as a full-time employee for purposes of the employer mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and replace it with 40 hours.”
12:28:14 P.M. H. Res. 19 DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H. Res. 19.
1:54:22 P.M. H. Res. 19 On ordering the previous question Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 240 – 180 (Roll no. 11).
1:55:34 P.M. MOMENT OF SILENCE – The Chair led the House in observing a moment of silence in memory of those affected by the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, on Jan. 8, 2011.
2:11:55 P.M. H. Res. 19 On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by recorded vote: 244 – 181 (Roll no. 12).
2:11:56 P.M. H. Res. 19 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
2:13:18 P.M. H.R. 30 Considered under the provisions of rule H. Res. 19. H.R. 30 — “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 30-hour threshold for classification as a full-time employee for purposes of the employer mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and replace it with 40 hours.”
2:13:23 P.M. H.R. 30 Previous question shall be considered as ordered without intervening motions except motion to recommit with or without instructions. All points of order against the bill are waived. The bills shall be considered as read.
2:13:27 P.M. H.R. 30 DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H.R. 30.
3:29:50 P.M. H.R. 30 The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule.
3:30:15 P.M. H.R. 30 Mr. Becerra moved to recommit with instructions to the Committee on Ways and Means.
3:31:26 P.M. H.R. 30 DEBATE – The House proceeded with 10 minutes of debate on the Becerra motion to recommit with instructions, pending the reservation of a point of order. The instructions contained in the motion seek to require the bill to be reported back to the House with an amendment prohibiting the amendments in section 2 of the bill from taking effect if additional, listed conditions could be expected as a result.
3:41:33 P.M. H.R. 30 The previous question on the motion to recommit with instructions was ordered without objection.
4:08:46 P.M. H.R. 30 On motion to recommit with instructions Failed by the Yeas and Nays: 179 – 244 (Roll no. 13).
4:17:33 P.M. H.R. 30 On passage Passed by recorded vote: 252 – 172 (Roll no. 14).
4:17:34 P.M. H.R. 30 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
4:18:19 P.M. ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with further one minute speeches.
4:35:01 P.M. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – Pursuant to clause 11 of rule 10, clause 11 of rule 1, and the order of theHouse of January 6, 2015 the Speaker appointed the following member of the House to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Mr. Schiff.
4:37:02 P.M. SPECIAL ORDER SPEECHES – The House has concluded all anticipated legislative business and has proceeded to Special Order speeches.

6:40:12 P.M. Mr. Gohmert moved that the House do now adjourn.
6:40:20 P.M. On motion to adjourn Agreed to by voice vote.
6:40:21 P.M. The House adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on January 9, 2015.

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