IJR https://ijr.com Experience The News Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:59:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Bullet-Riddled U.S. Flag That Survived D-Day Comes Home 75 Years Later https://ijr.com/bullet-riddled-us-flag-survived-d-day-comes-home/ https://ijr.com/bullet-riddled-us-flag-survived-d-day-comes-home/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:59:01 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201425 "It is my honor to welcome this great American flag back home where it belongs." More]]>

Shot through by German machine gun bullets and tattered by the wind, an American flag that flew on the first U.S. invading ship on D-Day came home on Thursday in a White House ceremony.

The flag handover was a main part of the visit to the White House by Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, who held Oval Office talks with President Donald Trump.

The flag has been owned by retired Dutch businessman and art collector Bert Kreuk, who said he bought it at auction three years ago with the intention of donating it to the United States.

“I cannot keep it myself. It needs to go to the right institution. I need to give it back,” Kreuk said in a telephone interview ahead of the ceremony, at which he spoke.

The flag is to be put on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence poses for a selfie as World War II veterans stand beside a flag that flew on the first U.S. invading ship on D-Day during a White House ceremony, after the flag was donated by a Dutch businessman to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The 48-star flag was on the U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Control 60, which was one of three advance ships directing troops onto Utah Beach on the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944.

The LCC 60 was the only of the three to complete its mission in the chaos of D-Day.

The ship and its 14-member crew were commanded by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Howard Vander Beek, a one-time Iowa teacher who brought the flag home from the war and kept it in his basement until he died in 2014.

“It is my honor to welcome this great American flag back home where it belongs,” said Trump, who called it a “reminder of the supreme sacrifice of our warriors and the beautiful friendship between the Dutch and the American people.”

To Kreuk, 54, the flag represented the liberation effort that saved his family from Nazi rule during World War Two. He said he lost family members during a German bombing raid on Rotterdam in 1940.

“For me it was evidence that I wanted to have this and secure it for the future,” he said.

Trump attended ceremonies in Normandy on June 6 marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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‘A Very Good Start’: GOP Lawmakers Praise Bipartisan Efforts as Opioid Overdose Deaths Decrease https://ijr.com/gop-lawmakers-decline-drug-overdose-deaths/ https://ijr.com/gop-lawmakers-decline-drug-overdose-deaths/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:54:13 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201400 "Lives are being saved, and we're beginning to win the fight against the crisis." More]]>

Republican lawmakers praised the bipartisan effort Congress undertook to combat the opioid crisis as the rate of drug overdose deaths declined in the U.S.

According to a report released Thursday from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. saw a 5.1% decrease in the provisional counts of drug overdose deaths from 2017 to 2018, signaling a decline in the opioid crisis that has been plaguing the country.

Last year, a bipartisan effort in the Senate and then-Republican-controlled House passed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to address the crisis, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in October of 2018.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar lauded the decline in deaths, saying in a statement posted to Twitter that the nation is “beginning to win the fight against this crisis.”

“The latest provisional data on overdose deaths shows that America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working,” wrote Azar. “Lives are being saved, and we’re beginning to win the fight against the crisis.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) published a tweet thread regarding the good news, proclaiming that the opioid crisis and other “real issues” is why he and other lawmakers were sent “to Washington.”

“This is why Americans send us to Washington. To focus on REAL issues — not impeachment or politically-motivated investigations,” wrote McCarthy. “As we’ve seen with the opioid epidemic, lives are on the line.”

Admiral Brett Giroir — the assistant secretary of HHS — and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) both also celebrated the decline on Twitter, as well, publishing tweets highlighting the overall decrease and those from some states around the country.

“New [CDC] report posted! Ohio state saw a 22.4% decrease in opioid overdose deaths, Iowa 19.6% and [Pennsylvania] 19.6%,” wrote Giroir.

As IJR News previously reported, five states — Kansas, Iowa, Maryland, Wisconsin, and West Virginia — filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma LP for allegedly illegally selling and marketing opioids, such as OxyContin.

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Trump Says U.S. Navy ‘Destroyed’ Iranian Drone in Strait of Hormuz https://ijr.com/trump-us-ship-destroyed-iranian-dront-hormuz/ https://ijr.com/trump-us-ship-destroyed-iranian-dront-hormuz/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:45:31 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201404 "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests." More]]>

President Donald Trump said on Thursday that a U.S. Navy ship had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the ship, in the latest incident in the Gulf.

Trump told an event in the White House that the drone had flown to within 1,000 yards (meters) of the USS Boxer.

“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests,” Trump said.

“The drone was immediately destroyed,” Trump said. He gave no more details.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, had taken “defensive action” against a drone, but did not mention if the aircraft was Iranian.

Tensions in the Gulf region are high, with fears that the United States and Iran could stumble into war.

The United States has blamed Iran for a series of attacks since mid-May on shipping around the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil artery. Tehran rejects the allegations.

Earlier on Thursday, the United States demanded Iran immediately release a vessel it seized in the Gulf, and a U.S. military commander in the region said the United States would work “aggressively” to ensure free passage of vessels through the vital waterway.

Tension in the Strait of Hormuz: https://tmsnrt.rs/32tzK6J

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington and Parisa Hafezi and Tuqa Khalid in Dubai; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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‘Here’s the Truth’: Crenshaw Lays out Why House Bill to Raise Min Wage to $15 Is ‘Bad’ for Americans https://ijr.com/crenshaw-house-bill-raise-min-wage-bad/ https://ijr.com/crenshaw-house-bill-raise-min-wage-bad/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:33:30 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201376 "Those are the problems with minimum wage." More]]>

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) is flattening congressional Democrats after the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15.

By October 2025, the minimum wage per hour would be raised to $15 an hour if the bill passes in the Senate, which it’s not likely to do, as IJR News reported.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it a “historic day,” with roughly 33 million people who would be affected by this, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) isn’t in step with her on it.

“We don’t need to lose jobs. We don’t have enough jobs now,” McConnell said during Thursday’ Fox Business interview. “This would depress the economy at a time of economic boom. We’re not going to be doing that in the Senate.”

In a video titled “Here’s the Truth,” Crenshaw shared the “truth about this policy.” He did so through a scenario by explaining what happens if there’s a mandatory wage increase.

With the minimum wage increase, businesses are forced to make decisions because their budget for salaries “does not change.” As Crenshaw describes, some may get a moderate wage increase and others could have “a 100 percent decrease in wages” if they lose their job due to the pay increase for everyone else.

As for the “two big problems” with the wage increase, the Republican lawmaker lists out “bad economics” and “one-size-fits-all policy.”

“The other thing you have to remember is that this isn’t the best way to combat poverty,” Crenshaw said, later adding, “we’re actually focusing on the wrong things.” He points out that 40% of those making minimum wage are from families with three times the poverty rate. He adds that 50% of those making minimum wage are 25-years-old or younger.

“Those are the problems with minimum wage. They cost jobs, it doesn’t make sense in a one-size-fits-all policy, and it’s bad for the people we’re trying to help the most.”

Watch the video below:

Additionally, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) slammed Democrats for choosing “their radical base over simple economics,” in response to the House passing the bill.

Scalise cites the Congressional Budget Office, which revealed that up to 3.7 million jobs would be lost and it would take a toll on families, with “a $9 billion decrease in family income.”

“Every Democrat that voted for this bill must answer for endangering our economy and the livelihoods of millions of American workers,” Scalise said.

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Potential Trump Challenger Plans to ‘Give It 30 Days’ to Gain Support Before Making Official 2020 Decision https://ijr.com/sanford-plans-to-give-it-30-days-before-officially-challenging-trump/ https://ijr.com/sanford-plans-to-give-it-30-days-before-officially-challenging-trump/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:28:26 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201384 "I have decided to take just a first step — and explore that question over the next 30 days." More]]>

Former governor and Congressman Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) addressed the buzz surrounding his rumored presidential bid by announcing that he will make his official decision in a month’s time.

During an interview on “The View,” Sanford noted that he hopes to spend the next 30 days to see if he can build energy around a campaign before making his official decision to take on President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

Watch Sanford’s comments:

“I’m neither [in the race, nor out]. What I have said is I’ll give it 30 days and see whether, you know, energy and people and resources come my direction as I explore this over the next 30 days or not. And if they don’t, no. I’ll look for other ways of highlighting what I think is the most critical issue out there that’s not being talked about, which is debt, deficit, and government spendings for its implications in every one of our lives.”

As Sanford noted, his number one reason for considering a presidential bid is that he believes government spending is out of control and could have disastrous implications for the U.S. economy.

In a press release, Sanford wrote: (Can forward email)

“I have decided to take just a first step — and explore that question over the next 30 days. This could lead to running for President as a Republican. The goal here would be to generate a long-overdue conversation amongst Republicans on what we believe on debt, deficits, and government spending. It could lead to starting an advocacy group aimed at national conversation on this front. It could mean none of the above. Again, I don’t know, but I suspect, based on people’s responses over the next month, I will garner a very clear picture of what I should or shouldn’t do moving forward.”

If he were to run for president, Sanford would undoubtedly have to address his chaotic past. In 2009, Sanford admitted to having an extramarital affair. During this time, he also literally disappeared, causing a statewide panic as his family and security team searched for him.

Host Joy Behar confronted Sanford about his past and asked how he would handle President Trump’s attacks, which undoubtedly would be vicious.

“I mean, it’s a chapter of life that I regret, that I have said I’m sorry for, that I repent of, and I move on. […] If I indeed get into which race, I know it’s a point of vulnerability, but it’s also, frankly, a point of strength because if you learn from your mistakes, you become a better person for them.”

If Sanford does decide to get into the race, he will join former Governor Bill Weld (R-Mass.), who is currently the only Republican challenging Trump’s reelection bid.

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McCarthy Slams Pelosi for Focusing on ‘Socialist’ Issues That Won’t Pass: ‘No Wonder Nothing Is Getting Done’ https://ijr.com/mccarthy-slams-pelosi-for-focusing-on-socialist-issues-that-wont-pass/ https://ijr.com/mccarthy-slams-pelosi-for-focusing-on-socialist-issues-that-wont-pass/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:00:43 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201364 "The Democratic Party has changed a great deal and become a socialist, Democratic Party." More]]>

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for getting “nothing” done since Democrats took control of the House.

McCarthy noted that he had recently done a town hall conference call with some of his constituents where he discussed the issues that are impacting everyday people. He pointed out that one of the callers claimed that none of the issues Democrats are focused on are the “kitchen table” issues that Americans must deal with.

The minority leader claimed that Pelosi is too busy focusing on partisan issues to address these problems.

He further explained his criticisms during his press conference on Thursday.

Watch McCarthy’s comments:

“When I answered questions about what was going on in the House for the last week, we talked about an impeachment bill coming up, a contempt [against Attorney General William Barr], and anything this new socialist Democrat majority wanted to do to go after this administration. What’s interesting is, I didn’t turn to the Republicans to see of a question, I actually found a question that I agreed with that came from a chief of staff from a Democratic member that challenged anyone to name one thing that the Democrats have done to help the voters around the issues around the kitchen table.”

McCarthy noted that he agreed with the question. “There’s not one [policy] that I have found.”

Beyond calling out her legislative leadership, he also condemned Pelosi for breaking the House rules by personally attacking President Donald Trump. As IJR previously reported, Pelosi was nearly barred from speaking on the House floor after calling Trump’s comments “racist,” which broke a rule that has been part of floor decorum since the days of Thomas Jefferson.

“The Speaker of the House has a responsibility to uphold the rules of this House. She broke the rules, but she felt the responsibility that she held above all of it. She had her own members vote to hold her different than anybody else when they broke the rules. That she could come back and still speak.”

McCarthy claimed that the House has “changed a lot” since Pelosi took control, adding, “But also, the Democratic Party has changed a great deal and become a socialist, Democratic Party.”

The minority leader noted that he would work with “anybody” from the Democratic Party if they are willing to focus on the issues Americans care about.

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‘Not Happy’: Trump Rejects Any Connection to ‘Send Her Back’ Chants Sparked at NC Rally https://ijr.com/trump-rejects-connection-send-her-back-chants-rally/ https://ijr.com/trump-rejects-connection-send-her-back-chants-rally/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 18:03:23 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201361 "I was not happy with it." More]]>

President Donald Trump is attempting to clear his name from the chants that broke out during Wednesday’s rally, as he’s expressing that he wasn’t “happy” about them.

The crowd at the president’s rally in North Carolina on Wednesday began chanting when the Trump took aim at a freshman Democratic representative — only escalating the controversy between Trump and four minority Democratic Congresswoman.

The chant, “Send her back!” comes after the president kick-started the week by blasting progressive Democratic Congresswomen in a tweet on Sunday, telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The tweet alluded to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

During Thursday’s rally, Trump once again blasted Omar — a Congress member who was a refugee from Somalia but is now a U.S. citizen — claiming she “has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds.”

“Send her back!” the crowd is heard in the background, as Trump pauses and then continues with his speech.

Check out the video below:

As IJR Blue reported, Omar took note of the chants, responding on Twitter, “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!”

The president, however, denied responsibility for the chants at the rally.

“I was not happy with it,” Trump told White House reporters on Thursday, according to a pool report. “I disagree with it.”

Asked if he attempted to stop the chanting, he said, “I think I did — I started speaking very quickly.”

During Thursday’s press conference, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also defended the president amid the rally chanting controversy.

“The president didn’t join in in any chant like that,” McCarthy said.

“And if you’re going to claim the president having a battle over [the] socialist issue and the socialist Democrats, that’s one that he has taken up even at the State of the Union. He promised that this country will never have socialism here and that’s why he’s fighting so hard.”

See McCarthy’s comments below:

Asked again about the chanting, the Republican lawmaker said, “The president moved on with his speech.” He added, “Has it become so far that you want to dislike the president so much you’re going to accuse him of something he did not do?”

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Obamacare 2.0 vs Medicare for All: Here Are 5 Things to Know About the Democratic Debate on Healthcare https://ijr.com/obamacare-2-0-vs-medicare-for-all-5-things-on-the-health-care-debate/ https://ijr.com/obamacare-2-0-vs-medicare-for-all-5-things-on-the-health-care-debate/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 17:25:45 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201241 "All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they’re sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital." More]]>

Health care will be a dividing issue between President Donald Trump and his 2020 opponent, but recent policy announcements show Democrats will first have to sort out their ideas within the party.

While there is variation among policy proposals, there are two main paths for 2020 Democrats to follow: Medicare for All or a reboot of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Both policies allow for more government intervention than Republicans have offered, but the policies are very different and highlight the factions within the Democratic Party.

Here are five things to know about the health care debate in the United States:

What is Medicare for All?

While several Democrats have hopped aboard the Medicare for All train, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) deserves credit for pushing the policy into the mainstream. His Senate office introduced Medicare for All in the Senate in 2017. His bill didn’t have takeoff on Capitol Hill, but it captivated many liberals, including his 2020 competitors like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Aptly named, Medicare for All is a program that would take the current Medicare system and expand it to all Americans. There are two visions for Medicare for All from the current pool of 2020 Democrats.

The first option simply opens up the option for Americans to be covered through Medicare if they do not want to leave their private insurance. This policy is backed by candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Ind.). The second option abolishes private health care altogether, forcing everyone into the Medicare system. This option is touted by Harris and Sanders.

“We say to the private health insurance companies: whether you like it or not, the United States will join every other major country on earth and guarantee healthcare to all people as a right,” Sanders wrote. “All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they’re sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital.”

What would Obamacare 2.0 look like?

Not all Democrats are on board with Medicare for All. Some believe that the Affordable Care Act is a solid foundation on which to build a health care system in the United States.

Among this group of Democrats is former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden isn’t looking to throw away former President Barack Obama’s health care legacy, rather he would like to build it up.

Since President Trump won in 2016, the ACA has been his number one target, stripping the legislation of its cornerstone: the individual mandate. This required that all Americans get health insurance or face a fine. Now the ACA is tangled up in a courtroom battle about its constitutionality.

Still, Biden believes the program will make it through the courts. He plans to rebuild the program.

Watch Biden’s video:

“Instead of starting from scratch and getting rid of private insurance,” Biden’s team wrote, “he has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate.”

His policy, which he announced earlier this week, would reinstate the elements stripped away by Republicans, including the individual mandate, and open a smaller public option that would open the door for those interested in a Medicare-like option.

He would also provide tax credits to help offset the annual costs of health care and expand the eligibility for ACA coverage to automatically enroll those on government assistance programs like SNAP, commonly known as food stamps.

What do the programs cost?

Cost is one of the most significant defining issues for Medicare for All. The universal program could cost $32.6 trillion over the first 10 years. As IJR previously reported, not even a 100% tax bracket for millionaires could cover Harris’s version of the plan. That means that most Americans will see their taxes rise to cover the program.

Sanders has acknowledged this fact, noting that he feels comfortable raising taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for Medicare for All because it could still be lower than their annual payments for premiums and copays under their current coverage.

As for Obamacare 2.0, Biden’s plan claims it will be fully funded by repealing the Republican-backed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and levying a tax on capital gains and dividends. The sticker price for the new-and-improved ACA, according to Biden’s campaign, is $750 billion over 10 years.

Biden’s cost comes in at just 2.3% of the total cost of Medicare for All.

Who do they cover?

Medicare for All, especially the plans laid out by Harris and Sanders, fully covers every single person in the United States. There would be no more premiums, copays, or negotiations with insurance providers.

Obamacare 2.0 doesn’t go nearly as far. For most people, there should be very little change to their current coverage because they would keep the plan they currently have. Biden would expand the ACA to include more low-income Americans and work to lower costs for prescription drugs and ban surprise billing, but it would not encompass all Americans like Sanders’ plan.

Additionally, 2020 Democrats gave unanimous support for covering undocumented immigrants under their plans during one night of the primary debates, a move many Republicans questioned.

What is the GOP’s health care plan?

For now, the Republican Party has offered criticisms of the ACA and Medicare for All, but they haven’t coughed up much of a plan on their own. In 2017, President Trump attempted to repeal the ACA, but even the so-called “skinny repeal” failed after the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) made a last-second reversal and voted against the measure.

Since then, Republicans haven’t really touched the issue. President Trump has made some changes from the executive level, including reforms to the organ donation process and a massive expansion of HRAs (Health Reimbursement Arrangements) by granting the accounts tax-advantaged status.

As IJR previously reported, HRAs have the potential to reform the individual market by allowing employers to give employees pre-tax allotments to pay for their health care, rather than buying it as a company.

“Under the rule, employers will be able to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market,” the White House noted. 

This could help small businesses cut down on their expenses while adding competition to the individual market to drive down insurance costs.

Beyond Trump’s actions, Republicans don’t have much of a plan — which could come back to bite them in 2020. Health care was one of the biggest issues in the 2018 midterm elections, and Republicans didn’t fare as well as they had hoped. It remains a top priority, with 36% of Americans listing it as their biggest concern

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‘Not Acceptable’: House Republican Campaign Chair Blasts the ‘Send Her Back’ Chant at Trump’s Rally https://ijr.com/tom-emmer-no-place-trump-rally-chant/ https://ijr.com/tom-emmer-no-place-trump-rally-chant/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 16:55:13 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201328 “I don’t agree with it.” More]]>

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) blasted the controversial “send her back” chant that took place at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally on Wednesday.

While speaking to journalists at a breakfast put on by the Christian Science Monitor, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) said that there was “no place” for the chant from the crowd at the president’s re-election rally in Greenville, North Carolina, and that he did not “agree” with it.

The chant came in reference to Emmer’s fellow Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who became a naturalized U.S. citizen after seeking refuge in America from her home country of Somalia.

“I didn’t watch the rally last night, but there’s no place for that kind of talk,” said Emmer. “I don’t agree with it.”

The Minnesota Republican was later asked if he believed the chant to be racist, to which he responded that it was “not acceptable” and called the controversy surrounding the president’s recent tweets seemingly aimed at Omar and the other members of her squad “manufactured.”

Emmer went on to say that there was “not a racist bone” in Trump’s “body” and that what he was trying to say was that those who “don’t appreciate this country” do not “have to be here,” and that it had “nothing to do” with a person’s “race,” “family history,” or “gender.”

“There’s not a racist bone in this president’s body. What he was trying to say, he said wrong. What he was trying to say is that if you don’t appreciate this country, you don’t have to be here. That goes for every one of us. That has nothing to do with your race, your gender, your family history. It has to do with respecting and loving your country.”

Emmer heads the campaign arm of the House Republicans as its chairman and plays a critical role in GOP House election efforts across the country.

Trump told White House reporters on Thursday he was “not happy” with the chants. “I disagree with it,” he said.

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House Passes Bill to Raise Federal Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour https://ijr.com/house-passes-bill-raise-federal-minimum-wage/ https://ijr.com/house-passes-bill-raise-federal-minimum-wage/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 16:26:20 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1201349 The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a legislation to raise the federal minimum wage. More]]>

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by October 2025, a big win for workers and labor groups, even as it remained unlikely the bill would pass a Republican-controlled Senate.

The move comes at a time when the $15 minimum wage fight has been gaining momentum around the country with several states and large private-sector employers that hire entry-level workers.

Cities and states including Seattle, San Francisco, New York state, California, Arkansas and Missouri have raised their minimum wage. Over the past year, employers like Amazon.com Inc and Costco Wholesale Corp have raised their base wages to $15 an hour while others like Target Corp have committed to going up to that level by the end of 2020.

Even some opposed to the move like fast-food chain operator McDonald’s Corp said recently it would no longer fight proposals to raise the federal minimum wage.

The country’s largest private sector employer Walmart Inc, which pays $11 in base wages to its employees, recently said it supports raising the federal minimum wage, calling it “too low.”

The Democratic-majority House approved the legislation titled Raise the Wage Act, in a mostly partisan vote of 231-199. Only three Republicans voted for it, while six Democrats opposed it.

The bill increases entry-level wages for millions of American workers from the current $7.25 an hour – about $15,000 a year for someone working 40 hours a week, or about $10,000 less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. It has remained unchanged since 2009.

Many Republicans and business groups have argued that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would hurt jobs, forcing businesses to hire fewer people and replacing jobs with automation. Several Republican lawmakers cited a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office last week, which estimated the move will boost wages for 17 million workers but at the same time, 1.3 million workers would lose their jobs.

U.S. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said he would not take up the House’s minimum wage bill.

“We don’t need to lose jobs, we don’t have enough jobs now,” he told Fox Business Network in an interview on Thursday. “This would depress the economy at a time of economic boom. We’re not going to be doing that in the Senate.”

McConnell’s opposition to the bill makes its passage more symbolic in nature. However, it also allows Democratic presidential hopefuls to attract more working class Americans with a promise to tackle growing economic inequality in the country, a key campaign issue for many candidates.

“This is a historic day,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , adding this is about 33 million people in the country getting a raise. “No one can live in dignity with a $7.25 an hour wage. Can you?,” she said.

Others like U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said a pay raise for American workers is long overdue. “We’ve now had the longest period without a minimum wage increase,” he said.

Several moderate Democrats, especially those who represent districts carried by President Donald Trump and were concerned about job losses, were assured by an amendment that would require a study of the effects of the bill a few years in, leaving room to make adjustments if more jobs are lost than expected.

Unions and labor groups, who brought the $15 minimum wage bill onto the national stage, see the passage of the bill as a key step towards building support among voters in Republican-dominated states and districts.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; editing by Bernadette Baum and Diane Craft)

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