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Alan K. Ota covers Congressional leadership as a senior writer for CQ Roll Call. Prior to joining the leadership and legal affairs team, he covered taxes and technology, and was a Tokyo and Washington correspondent for The Oregonian.
A Washington native, Alan is a graduate of UC Berkeley and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University. He grew up in Maryland lives in Arlington, Va.
Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert delivered a blunt reminder to farm-state lawmakers about the clout of the ethanol industry with a visit for nearly an hour to the main lobby off the Senate floor during votes on Tuesday, while he worked to stave off a call by conservatives to eliminate the renewable fuels standard.
Anyone hoping for an online sales tax bill out of the 114th Congress might as well be staring at a spinning circle on a computer screen.
In his inaugural speech as Senate majority leader, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell said he could see “a glimmer of hope” in new economic data showing a 5 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter of last year. This uptick, he said, coincided with “the expectation of a new Republican Congress” just before the November election.
Republicans who are looking for numbers to bolster their case for conservative economic initiatives point most frequently to the rate at which Americans participate in the labor forces, which is partly responsible for the steep decline in the unemployment rate over the past three years.
The strong support voters showed in the midterm elections for increasing the minimum wage reinforced the idea of broad popular support for raising the wage floor and led Democrats to revive their calls for a higher federal minimum.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, a front-runner in the race for chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee in the next Congress, is vowing to guard the independence of the GOP's right wing from influential outside groups like Heritage Action.
A loose alliance of banks, state officials and business groups is pushing for a permanent extension of a low-income housing tax credit enacted during the financial crisis.
A housing recovery moving in fits and starts is fueling new efforts on Capitol Hill to protect tax incentives for home ownership and oppose any reductions in the tax breaks that might be part of a broad tax overhaul.
The House, which passed one permanent extension of an expired business tax break, will delay any action on other so-called extenders until at least June following the demise this week of the Senate’s two-year tax break patch.
House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas and other senior Republicans are pushing proposals to tie the extension of emergency unemployment insurance to jobs measures and the extension of some tax breaks in an attempt to bring the plan to the House floor.
A potential agreement on a long-stalled House GOP proposal to streamline federal job training programs is emerging as a possible linchpin for a deal on a five-month extension of expired unemployment benefits.
The bipartisan five-month unemployment insurance extension pending in the Senate appears to be driving a wedge between segments of the House Republican Conference.
A tough partisan fight is developing over how best to meet the needs of part-time workers in light of the 30-hour workweek threshold for employer-mandated health care.
Liberal Democrats are looking to beef up benefits for part-time workers who face hurdles in finding full-time gigs in a sluggish economy.
Offshoring became a mantra for corporate America in the past decade, as companies shifted production abroad to save on wages and overhead. Now, a halting recovery in manufacturing employment in the United States — fueled by low domestic energy costs and rising wages in emerging economies — has pushed the industry to the front of a new bipartisan drive to spur job creation before the 2014 elections.
An army of nearly 400,000 workers made the steel industry a powerhouse in the 1980s. With a current workforce a third that size, the industry needs allies to widen its reach in Washington, D.C.
The technology boom of the 1990s that created a wave of new businesses and jobs was built on innovation that lawmakers would dearly love to revive in today’s sputtering economy.
The National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stand adamantly against a higher minimum wage, and even a package of tax incentives would make the plan a tough sell for many businesses.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah seemed to be trying to spark interest in an issue that was thoroughly on the back burner when he introduced a bill, with no co-sponsors, early this month addressing troubled public pension funds.
As a top aide to President George W. Bush, Andrew Biggs argued for allowing workers to funnel payroll taxes into stocks instead of the Social Security trust fund backed by Treasury bonds. But Biggs has now emerged as a leader in prodding public pension funds to use a new gauge — based on Treasury bonds, not stocks — to evaluate unfunded liabilities.
Jason Furman, the White House’s nominee to become chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, made a compelling case as an analyst in 2007 for a new minimum wage of $7.25 as “a useful step to help working families escape poverty.”
Congressional Democrats hope to seize momentum from states as they push to raise the minimum wage for the first time in four years.
Democrats in the Senate and House are pushing proposals to suspend lawmaker pay if Congress does not authorize a higher debt limit when the need arrives this fall.
Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, pushing back against White House demands for no-frills legislation on the federal borrowing cap, is calling for another round of spending cuts beyond the sequester as part of any agreement to raise the debt limit.
Sen. Rob Portman has been conferring with Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as part of an effort to clear the way for his Senate confirmation and avert a Democratic threat to use the “nuclear option” to curb filibusters.