Emily Zanotti


The Biden White House is reportedly giving up on a federal minimum wage hike out of fear the measure will make the COVID-19 relief bill unpalatable to moderate Democrats and some Republicans, leaving the administration struggling to make good on a primary campaign promise.

President Joe Biden insists that his administration is in line with progressive, however, who have been demanding the administration “Fight for $15,” and that a measure hiking the federal minimum wage will come later.

“President Joe Biden said it is unlikely a $15 federal minimum wage provision makes it into the next Covid-19 relief package, hitting pause on a key campaign promise as Democrats in Congress press ahead to pass $1.9 trillion in stimulus without Republican support,” NBC News reported Sunday.

The problem appears to be two-fold, however. In order to pass the COVID-19 relief measure on a typical vote, Biden will require Republican support for the measure — support he’s not likely to get if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) insists that the bill contain the minimum wage hike. But if Democrats decide to pass the bill through “reconciliation” — a parliamentary procedure that allows a party to force through a budget-oriented bill on a simple majority vote — a minimum wage provision would act as a “poison pill,” effectively killing the bill before it could be brought to a vote.

“Democrats in Congress have moved to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus package without Republican support in the Senate using a parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), said Friday that the lower chamber aims to pass the fiscal relief package within two weeks,” NBC News noted. “Under the rules of reconciliation, only measures that have an impact on the budget can be passed. Biden indicated in the interview that those rules likely wouldn’t allow the inclusion of a minimum wage provision in the final bill.”

“I put it in but I don’t think it’s going to survive,” Biden told CBS News, referring to the $15 minimum wage. “My guess is it will not be in.”

“I’m prepared as the president of the United States on a separate negotiation on minimum wage to work my way up from what it is now,” he continued. “No one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage and you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, however, insisted last week that a “room full of lawyers” could figure out how to pass the bill through reconciliation with a $15 minimum wage hike inside.

“We have a room full of lawyers working as hard as we can to make the case to the parliamentarian that in fact raising the minimum wage will have significant budget implications and in fact should be consistent with reconciliation rules,” Sanders said.

If the provision does not make it into the larger COVID relief bill, Biden will likely have just over a year to make the minimum wage hike law before Republicans and Democrats begin campaigning for the mid-year elections. A minimum wage hike is not popular among Republicans and moderate Democrats have been lukewarm on the prospect, particularly those who have to answer to “red” states for re-election.

Author: Emily Zanotti

Source: Daily Wire: Report: Biden Administration Abandoning $15 Minimum Wage Over Worries It ‘Wont Survive’ COVID Talks

The Obama Foundation is finally breaking ground on the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago after years of waiting, litigation, and complaints from residents who say the library will change the character of a historic park while failing to provide a benefit to the surrounding community.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that “the first pre-construction utility relocation work for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park will start in April, with preliminary roadwork and site preparation to begin as early as August.”

“We know that by working together, we can unlock the South Side’s fullest potential — and help set up our city, our country, and our world for even better years still to come,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement on social media.

The center is expected to cost $500 million, most of it shouldered by private donors to Obama’s presidential foundation. But Illinois residents will be on the hook for $174 million for “roadway changes” so those select streets now crossing through Jackon Park can reroute around the massive, 20-acre Obama library campus.

Obama, of course, left office in 2016, and construction was supposed to start in the fall of 2018, but there were issues with the library’s location — specifically that Obama was building a permanent structure in a protected, historic park, and that the state of Illinois allowed the construction with a minimal financial contribution from the foundation.

“The federal review was mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act because Obama decided to locate his center in Jackson Park, a site of the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The park was designed by famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux,” the Sun-Times reported Wednesday. “The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.”

Illinois extended the Obama foundation a 99-year lease on its area of the park for just a dollar, and a number of groups objected to the easy transfer. They also objected to the city’s and state’s decision to allow the Obama Foundation to dig up areas of the park for the oversized library.

“A nonprofit group called Protect our Parks has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that this violates state law,” the Wall Street Journal reported in 2018. “The suit calls the Obama Center a ‘bait and switch,’ since the ‘public purpose’ of a presidential library no longer exists.”

Protect Our Parks noted, as others have, that the Obama’ presidential “library” will not be a “library” in the traditional sense since, unlike past presidents, Obama’s records are mostly digital. Instead of his archives, then, the Obama Center will feature community activities, a “virtual” research center, and plenty of green space.

Protect Our Parks says it may file a new lawsuit before construction on the project officially begins.

Although Obama selected Chicago for his presidential library, he did not move to his adopted hometown after leaving the White House. The Obama family, instead, purchased a home in New England.

Author: Emily Zanotti

Source: Daily Wire: $500M Obama Presidential Library Will Finally Break Ground In Chicago In 2021

The nation’s fifth-largest school district of Clark County, Nevada, will return to in-person education “as quickly as possible” following a “surge” of student suicides in and around the county’s central city, Las Vegas, according to The New York Times.

The shocking news of a rash of student suicides in Nevada has school districts across the country rethinking the strategy of in-home and online learning amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and reconsidering their position that students might fully recover from a year spent out of the company of peers.

“The spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation’s fifth-largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible,” the NYT reported Sunday. “This month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students even as greater Las Vegas continues to post huge numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.”

Mental health, they say, is intrinsically linked to physical health — something few entities considered during the virus’ first wave — and even though the risk of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus remains high in places like Nevada, the risk of losing a generation to isolation-driven depression and anxiety is weighing heavy on administrators.

“Superintendents across the nation are weighing the benefit of in-person education against the cost of public health, watching teachers and staff become sick and, in some cases, die, but also seeing the psychological and academic toll that school closings are having on children nearly a year in,” the NYT continued. “The risk of student suicides has quietly stirred many district leaders, leading some, like the state superintendent in Arizona, to cite that fear in public pleas to help mitigate the virus’s spread.”

“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” said Jesus Jara, the Clark County superintendent told the outlet. “We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope.”

Student mental health has become a hot topic in recent days, as some of the nation’s larger school districts, like Chicago’s and New York City’s, discuss an imminent return to in-person learning. Some districts, Newsday reports, are even considering hiring full-time counselors for students struggling either with a year spent out of the company of other students, or the difficulty in adapting to a constantly changing social environment.

The Washington Post, last week, called the decline in children’s mental health a “simmering crisis.”

WaPo notes that the number of mental health-related emergency room visits has skyrocketed across the board — even for children as young as age 5.

“Mental health problems account for a growing proportion of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the outlet noted. “From March, when the pandemic was declared, to October, the figure was up 31 percent for those 12 to 17 years old and 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11 compared with the same period in 2019.”

Expert who spoke to the NYT and to WaPo both note that the mental health issues are separate from academic ones and that students can do well academically but may have difficulty functioning “in isolation.”

School districts are, in many cases, returning to in-person learning, but the process is slow. Both New York and Chicago anticipate returning by February 1st. Clark County says it will return as soon as possible.

Author: Emily Zanotti

Source: Daily Wire: Report: ‘Surge Of Student Suicides’ Forced Las Vegas School District To Return To In-Person Learning

Four prominent Democrats announced Saturday that they plan to launch a joint investigation into intelligence and planning failures that may have led to an attack on the United States Capitol that took place on January 6th.

The four committee chairs — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), House Oversight Committee Chairman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) — will also be looking into whether members of the GOP assisted the Capitol rioters.

As The Daily Wire reported last week, New Jersey Democrat Rep. Mikie Sherrill and others claimed that “Republican Congressional colleagues led people through the United States Capitol last Tuesday on what appeared to be a ‘reconnaissance’ mission ahead of Wednesday’s attack.” Sherrill led a group of lawmakers in demanding that the Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement agencies look into the possibility that rioters had inside help.

“I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him, those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day,” Sherrill said in a Facebook Live event. “Those members of Congress who incited the violent crowd. Those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy, I’m going see that they’re held accountable.”

Neither Sherrill nor any of the other 29 signatories referred to any Republican by name, nor did they provide specific evidence of their claims. Previous reports have suggested that several Republican lawmakers communicated with organizers of the January 6th rally, but those reports have yet to be substantiated.

“The committee chairs said in a letter released Saturday that emerging evidence shows federal intelligence officials and law enforcement agencies received information about the likelihood of violence targeting Congress, but a breakdown in the information-sharing process left the Capitol vulnerable, despite widely anticipated efforts to disrupt the lawmakers’ session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory,” according to Politico.

“They’re also asking specific questions, including on the evidence each intelligence agency gathered ahead of Jan. 6 and what they did with it; if there was evidence of any foreign efforts to either assist the insurrection, spread misinformation about it or exploit the aftermath; if any current or former officials with security clearances participated in the insurrection; and what policy responses the intelligence agencies have implemented to apprehend rioters and disrupt potential future actions,” the outlet continued.

The Committees will conduct robust oversight to understand what warning signs may have been missed, determine whether there were systemic failures, and consider how to best address countering domestic violent extremism, including remedying any gaps in legislation or policy,” the letter itself noted.

On Friday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggested that, if lawmakers are found to have aided and abetted the Capitol rioters, they could face criminal charges.

“We must trust each other, respect the people who sent us here. We must also have the truth, and that will be looked into,” she said. “If, in fact, it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection — if they aided and abetted the crime — there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress, in terms of prosecution for that,” she told media, referring specifically to Sherrill’s allegations.

Author: Emily Zanotti

Source: Daily Wire: House Dems Launch Probe Into Capitol Attack, Pelosi Suggests Republican Lawmakers Could Face ‘Criminal Charges’

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