Three things to know this week

We are Working Washington

BossFeed Briefing for June 12, 2017. The special session of the State Legislature continues to continue this week… and continues to continue to not show any visible signs of progress towards agreement on a budget. Reports have recently been picking up that Republicans in the U.S. Senate may be close to reaching agreement on a healthcare repeal bill. And while paid holidays are not required under Federal law, BossFeed was in fact on vacation last week.

Catching up 

Three things to know this week:

scared Every previous U.S. Labor Department under every previous presidential administration has held that a worker’s immigration status does not affect their right to minimum wage and other labor standards. But workers and advocates are increasingly concerned this practice has changed, creating new barriers to enforcement, and effectively incentivizing wage theft.

Canadian flag Ontario, Canada is raising its provincial minimum wage to $15/hour, lifting pay for 675,000 workers. At the current exchange rate, $15 Canadian is about $11.14/hour in U.S. currency.

cart Amazon is offering discounted Prime memberships to people who receive any form of government assistance through an EBT card. About half of all U.S. households are currently Prime members.

Two things to ask:

ring But do they tip the catering staff? A “five-star wedding” runs about $5,000 a guest, according to people who work to organize the weddings of the ultra-rich, but reject the job title of “wedding planner” because they associate it with Jennifer Lopez. New-money clients sometimes hire consultants to provide social media and PR strategy for the weddings, while old money clients like fifth-generation Rockefellers supposedly “will put the au pairs and the nannies and whoever raised them at the head table.”

horse Anyone have any ideas? Vacation resorts charging up to $1,200 a night say they’re struggling to find staff who can maintain their high standards, and also tend to their horses. Seems like there must be something that could be raised the would make more workers interested in taking a given job, but the notion seems not to have occurred to the stressed-out luxury peddlers.


And one thing that’s worth a closer look:

zzzzzz Surveying the political landscape in Great Britain, anthropologist, political thinker, and early Occupy activist David Graeber asks if people can become bored of being hopeless. Graeber suggests that despite the many defeats of working class politics in the UK, the aftermath of the Great Recession there has provoked a return to utopian thinking. The provocative piece — even more valuable in view of last week’s strong electoral performance by Labour — touches on everything from steampunk to Scottish science fiction, asking if perhaps despair has run its course and we’re on the cusp of historic change.


Read this far?

tophat Consider yourself briefed, boss.

NWLC to Betsy DeVos: We’re taking you to court

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos won’t say whether her agency is doing anything to curb sexual harassment in schools. Did they think we would just let that slide?

We deserve to know if our schools are safe.

National Women’s Law Center v. United States Department of Education
Here at NWLC, we believe no one should be pushed out of school because they’ve experienced sexual harassment or assault. Yet that’s the heartbreaking reality for too many survivors when their schools ignore their obligations under Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded schools. With that in mind, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Department of Education this past January to learn whether and how the department has been handling investigations of sexual harassment and assault.

They refused to respond. Given Secretary DeVos’ ongoing failure to commit to Title IX enforcement—and Donald “When you’re a star, they let you do it” Trump’s terrible personal record on sexual assault, plus his administration’s poor civil rights record overall—their silence leaves us deeply concerned that this administration is doing nothing on behalf of survivors. That’s why we filed suit today, to compel them to live up to their legal responsibilities and turn over information about their sexual assault cases.

  • Read more about why we’re suing the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Share this graphic to spread the word: we deserve to know if they’re taking action to make sure our schools are safe.

Stopping the Attempt to Sneak Through a Dangerous Attack on Our Health Care
Late last week, it became clear that GOP leaders in Congress are moving at lightning speed to finalize their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut the Medicaid program. So far, they’ve been keeping the bill language secret, but if they do what we expect, it would be devastating. Tens of millions of people will lose health care coverage, millions more could end up with insurance that doesn’t cover critical health care needs, like maternity care, and insurance plans could once again charge a survivor of breast cancer more for insurance. We’ve fought hard to get these protections written into law, and we refuse to go back to a time when simply being a woman was treated like a pre-existing condition.

Today marks a year since the killing of 49 and wounding of 58 members of the LGBTQ community at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This coming Saturdaymarks two years since the massacre of nine Black worshippers at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. To honor the victims of these attacks and the nearly 300,000 hate crimes that happen in America each year, and to speak up for common sense solutions to our country’s horrific gun violence epidemic, we have joined with Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and a variety of organizations around the country to observe Disarm Hate Week.

  • A newly re-introduced bill in Congress would prohibit anyone convicted of a hate crime from purchasing or owning a gun. Read more about the bill in Newsweek.
  • Speak out: Use the hashtag #DisarmHate to join the conversation about how to end gun violence and hate crimes.
  • Members of the LGBTQ, Muslim, Latinx communities and allies are coming together to demonstrate unity in remembrance of the Pulse victims. Read why.

Resistance Must-Reads


We the Resistance is our fight to protect our rights and freedoms and to defend the most vulnerable among us through powerful collective action. Every conversation you have with a loved one about the issues important to you, every call you make to Congress, every rally you attend is a part of that resistance. Join us — sign on to the We The Resistance manifesto.

the history/facts of Welfare: the colonies imported the British Poor Laws

Welfare in the United States commonly refers to the federal government welfare programs that have been put in place to assist the unemployed or underemployed. Help is extended to the poor through a variety of government welfare programs that include Medicaid, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

The history of welfare in the U.S. started long before the government welfare programs we know were created. In the early days of the United States, the colonies imported the British Poor Laws. These laws made a distinction between those who were unable to work due to their age or physical health and those who were able-bodied but unemployed. The former group was assisted with cash or alternative forms of help from the government. The latter group was given public service employment in workhouses.

Throughout the 1800’s welfare history continued when there were attempts to reform how the government dealt with the poor. Some changes tried to help the poor move to work rather than continuing to need assistance. Social casework, consisting of caseworkers visiting the poor and training them in morals and a work ethic was advocated by reformers in the 1880s and 1890s.

Prior to the Great Depression, the United States Congress supported various programs to assist the poor. One of these, a Civil War Pension Program was passed in 1862 and provided aid to Civil War Veterans and their families.

When the Great Depression hit, many families suffered. It is estimated that one-fourth of the labor force was unemployed during the worst part of the depression. With many families suffering financial difficulties, the government stepped in to solve the problem and that is where the history of welfare as we know it really began.

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Social Security Act was enacted in 1935. The act, which was amended in 1939, established a number of programs designed to provide aid to various segments of the population. Unemployment compensation and AFDC (originally Aid to Dependent Children) are two of the programs that still exist today.

A number of government agencies were created to oversee the welfare programs. Some of the agencies that deal with welfare in the United States are the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Education.

Welfare history continued to be made in 1996 President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Under the act, the federal government gives annual lump sums to the states to use to assist the poor. In turn the states must adhere to certain criteria to ensure that those receiving aid are being encouraged to move from welfare to work. Though some have criticized the program, many acknowledge it has been successful.

Those who seek welfare information can find such information on the Internet or by looking under United States Government in their local phone book. Programs are available to those who qualify to provide welfare help in the areas of health, housing, tax relief, and cash assistance.