wage

Congress is crawling with rich kids. I should know, I was one of them
Unpaid internships are breeding a crisis on the Hill

Paying interns would break the cycle of prep school privilege that dominates the Capitol, Freedman writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made headlines for one unprecedented move after another, from primarying a member of the Democratic leadership to introducing a Green New Deal. But perhaps her most shocking decision yet is also one that is painfully obvious: paying her staff and interns a living wage.

See, working for Congress should be an opportunity for Americans of every background to serve their country and elected leaders. Instead, the low — and in the case of interns, often nonexistent — pay for young people on the Hill makes working in Washington, D.C., prohibitively expensive for all but a wealthy and connected few. Or, as Ocasio-Cortez aide Dan Riffle put it when describing the Hill staffers he’s encountered, “These are careerists. These are people who grew up on [New York City’s affluent] Upper West Side and went to Ivy League schools.”

The capitalism vs. socialism debate: Bring it on
This is where America in 2019 finds itself, arguing over a settled question

As Democratic hopefuls turn themselves into ideological pretzels, socialist standby Bernie Sanders is finally getting some company, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Capitalism vs. socialism. It sounds like a debate topic better suited to a ’60s Berkley lecture hall than a 21st-century presidential campaign taking place in a robust, capitalist economy.

But that is where America in 2019 finds itself, arguing over what seems to be a settled question for anyone with a cursory knowledge of socialism’s bleak record of lackluster economies in many countries and totalitarianism in many others. Whether it was revolutionary Cuba in the last century or Venezuela in this century, socialism can take a nation down a dangerous path to poverty and oppression, propped up by authoritarian governments that destroy freedom and opportunity.

3 takeaways: Weekend reinforces that Trump is his own communications director
President spends weekend retweeting of conservative lawmakers, pundits after Bill Shine’s departure

Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity interviews President Donald Trump before a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sept. 20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — Bill Shine, the former Fox News executive, is no longer White House communications director. But President Donald Trump’s weekend messaging shows he might not need to fill the position.

Trump returned to the White House Sunday evening after a weekend at his South Florida resort without speaking to reporters. Several shouted questions about his new request that lawmakers give him $8.6 billion for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border barrier. A Roll Call reporter asked about Michael Cohen accusing the president of lying when he claimed his former fixer lied about not asking him for a pardon.

3 things to watch: Trump kids, associates eye pleading the Fifth as Dems bore in
WH counsel’s letter to Rep. Cummings reveals legal strategy to fight probes

Children of President Donald Trump — Tiffany Trump (in white), Donald Trump Jr. (back left), and Eric Trump (center front) and wife Lara Trump (front right) — applaud during their father's State of the Union address on Jan. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — It was a remarkable 24-hour reversal, with President Donald Trump first saying Monday he cooperates with “everybody” before turning to an unlikely source for a precedent to reject House Democrats’ demands for reams of documents: Barack Obama.

House Democratic chairmen of committees in the embryonic stages of investigations into all things Trump have requested documents from and interviews with a long list of individuals and entities related to the president’s time in office, 2016 campaign and business dealings. Trump seemed willing to, at least in some form, comply with some of those requests when he said this on Monday: “I cooperate all the time, with everybody.

Americans want paid family leave. Congress may finally be ready to deal
Common ground already exists in proposals put out by both parties

Supporters of paid family leave demonstrate at a Democratic rally in New York City in March 2016. The momentum toward creating some type of national program is now found on the GOP side too. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Two developments in the last month signal potential new life for a long-popular policy idea: creating a national paid family leave program.

First, two prominent Democrats — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut — reintroduced the FAMILY Act, which would provide working Americans up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a new child; to care for a sick loved one; or to recover if an injury or illness requires an extended absence from work. The bill has wide-ranging support among Democrats, but this is the seventh year in a row it has been introduced without a Republican co-sponsor.

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.