Missing Obamacare Data Draws House Democrats’ Scrutiny

by Madison Alder

05.22.19   The Labor Department's failure to collect transparency data from employer plans as required under the Affordable Care Act drew the ire of two House Democrats who say that information could be used to protect consumers. That missing data makes it more difficult for federal enforcement efforts and puts at a disadvantage the more than 150 million Americans in employer-sponsored plans, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) said in a May 22 letter to Labor Secretary Alex Acosta. Sc… Continue Reading

Congress Might Finally Overhaul Higher Education

by Adam Harris

03.08.19   Every few years, typically four to six, Congress dusts off the federal law that governs higher education-there are no penalties, per se, if it doesn't, but the law can quickly become outdated, and if lawmakers want to ensure federal college programs run smoothly, they keep that schedule. At least that's what is supposed to happen. The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act is a seemingly endless will they, won't they; the wonky romantic comedy that writers haven't been able to finish. The … Continue Reading

House Democrats Prepare to Scrutinize DeVos’s Education Department

by Erica Green

02.19.19   The last face-to-face meeting between Representative Robert C. Scott and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ended in an awkward cliffhanger. At a hearing last May of the House Education Committee, Mr. Scott, Democrat of Virginia, challenged the secretary's assertion that she was holding states accountable for achievement gaps between white and minority students as required by a new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act. Mr. Scott, unconvinced, asked more pointedly: How can you assu… Continue Reading

At House Education Hearing, Lawmakers Differ Sharply on Why Teachers Are Underpaid

by Andrew Ujifusa

02.12.19   At the first House education committee hearing on K-12 schools this Congress, Democrats in control of the committee pushed Tuesday for more resources from the federal government to raise teacher pay and repair schools. But Republicans said that education spending increases have failed to adequately address these issues or to help students academically. Democrats took control of the House in the November midterms for the first time since 2011, and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., now the committee chair… Continue Reading

House Democrats’ new plan for a $15 minimum wage, explained

by Alexia Fernandez Campbell

02.08.19   First it was Seattle, then San Francisco. Later, it was the entire state of California, then Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, DC. In January, New Jersey became the latest state to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Now Democrats in Congress are pushing for a $15 minimum wage in every state. On Thursday, the House Committee on Education and Labor held its first hearing on the Raise the Wage Act, which would eventually double the federal minimum wage by 2024. The current minimum has … Continue Reading

Democrats Insist Higher Education Bill Must Be All or Nothing

by Emily Wilkins

02.07.19   A new higher education law must be comprehensive, a key House lawmaker said, setting up a potential roadblock for narrower legislation his Senate counterpart has floated as an option. "The opportunity to reauthorize the Higher Education Act comes only once a decade," House Education and Labor Chairman Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said Thursday. "We cannot waste this moment by passing a bill that only changes higher education at the margins," he said at an Inside Higher Education event. Current law… Continue Reading

White House rescinds Education Dept. watchdog pick after ethics concerns

by Suzy Khimm, Heidi Przybyla and Laura Strickler

02.01.19   The White House on Friday backtracked on its decision to install an Education Department official to serve as the agency's acting watchdog after criticism that the designation posed a serious conflict of interest. On Wednesday evening, the administration unexpectedly appointed Phil Rosenfelt, the Education Department's deputy general counsel, as the agency's acting inspector general, a development first reported by Politico on Thursday morning. The choice immediately sparked an outcry from cong… Continue Reading

Trump administration's rollback of worker protection rules is under investigation

by Suzy Khimm

01.31.19   The federal watchdog for the Department of Labor is conducting a broad investigation into the Trump administration's process for making regulatory changes, following allegations that officials are undoing worker protections without following the proper procedures, according to a letter obtained by NBC News. The investigation will include the Labor Department's effort to undo a child labor regulation affecting teenagers who work in hospitals and nursing homes, according to the Jan. 25 letter by … Continue Reading

Labor Market Is Doing Fine With Higher Minimum Wages

by Barry Ritholtz

01.24.19   Almost three years ago, we got a chance to watch a real-time experiment of the impact higher minimum wages would have on job creation after some localities passed laws to raise pay floors. Although opponents immediately decried the increases as job killers and as proof that leftists are intent on destroying the economy, the wiser course was to wait and see what the data produced. We now have a growing body of evidence that tips the scale in favor of the proponents, bolstered by several decades … Continue Reading

Raising The Minimum Wage Would Save American Lives

by Kunal Sindhu

01.23.19   House Democrats introduced the Raise the Wage Act on Jan. 16, which would raise the hourly federal minimum wage from $7.25 for most workers to $15 by 2024. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), one of the co-sponsors of the bill and the chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, stated, "No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty." For years, arguments in favor of raising the minimum wage have focused on providing American workers a living wage. A full-time worker m… Continue Reading

Special Report: The political battle behind the dismantling of a worker safety rule

by Julia Harte and Peter Eisler

01.22.19   NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Reuters) - When Wardell Davis landed work with a Norfolk, Virginia, shipbuilding contractor in the fall of 2007, he felt lucky. Then 24 years old, with no high school diploma, Davis had for years bounced between part-time jobs. The contractor, he says, promised better pay for grueling labor: blasting the hulls of U.S. Navy ships with coarsely ground coal particles to remove rust and paint. He recalls the fog of dust created as workers fired the crushed coal - a residue from c… Continue Reading

Calls For Change Follow NPR/'Frontline' Black Lung Investigation

by Howard Berkes

01.22.19   Thousands of coal miners are dying from an advanced form of black lung disease, and federal regulators could have prevented it if they had paid closer attention to their own data. That's the conclusion of a joint NPR/Frontline investigation that aired last month and continues Tuesday night on PBS. The regulatory system that is supposed to protect coal miners from exposure to toxic silica dust failed to prevent dangerous exposures more than 21,000 times since 1986, according to data collected b… Continue Reading

Democrats To Prioritize $15 Federal Minimum Wage With House Takeover

by Dave Jamieson

12.14.18   Don't try telling Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) that a $15 federal minimum wage is nothing more than a progressive pipe dream. The incoming chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor quickly points to recent ballot initiatives in conservative states where voters overwhelmingly signed off on minimum wage hikes. In November, Missouri approved raising theirs to $12 by 2023, and Arkansas to $11 by 2021. "You've got red states passing it, and it isn't even close," Scott said. As … Continue Reading

Republicans To Hold Their First Hearing On The Minimum Wage Since Taking The House In 2010

by Dave Jamieson

12.10.18   At long last, House Republicans have something to say about the minimum wage. Mere weeks before a Democratic takeover of the House, the GOP majority has finally scheduled a hearing to debate the idea of hiking the federal wage floor from $7.25 per hour. Congress hasn't passed a law to raise it in more than a decade. The hearing, slated for Wednesday before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, marks the first hearing or markup devoted to the policy issu… Continue Reading

More salt and less whole grain allowed in Trump administration’s new school lunch nutrition rule

by Valerie Strauss

12.08.18   The Trump administration says it is planning to permanently ease nutrition rules on school lunches, allowing children to eat food with more salt and less whole grain. The U.S. Agriculture Department said it was taking the step to make meal planning easier for schools and to entice more children to eat healthful food. The number of students eating meals at school peaked in 2010 and has dropped significantly since: In 2010, 5.2 million students ate school lunch, but by 2017, it was 4.8 million. … Continue Reading

Teen Health-Worker Rule by Labor Agency Missing Crucial Survey

by Jaclyn Diaz

12.03.18   The Labor Department has yet to publish a key survey cited in its proposal to ease restrictions for teenage workers in health-care settings, despite letters and repeated requests from congressional representatives and worker advocates in recent weeks to do so. The rule would let 16- and 17-year-olds who work in nursing homes or hospitals operate machines that lift patients from beds, without supervision. This would undo a 2011 policy that required supervision by a staffer who is 18 or older. D… Continue Reading

New position of influence

by Daily Press Editorial Board

11.28.18   The Newport News congressman will have a heightened role when Democrats take over the House in January U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott walked into the Daily Press' offices less than two weeks before Election Day ready to unload a heap of frustration. The Newport News Democrat felt discussion about substantive issues was falling by the wayside, even as pre-election furor was reaching a crescendo across Virginia. His district was unusually quiet, though, because his quest for another term was… Continue Reading

Thirteen-year-old activist with autism wants to close seclusion rooms at schools

by Hannah Rappleye and Liz Brown

11.23.18   Alex Campbell was just 7 years old when, he says, his principal dragged him down the hall to the school's "crisis room." Administrators reserved the room, a converted storage closet, for children who acted out. He still remembers the black-painted walls. The small window he was too short to reach. The sound of a desk scraping across the floor, as it was pushed in front of the door to make sure he couldn't get out. Alex, who has autism spectrum disorder, says he was taken there more than a half… Continue Reading

Exclusive: House Democrats will introduce a bill to protect millions of health care workers

by Alexia Fernández Campbell

11.16.18   A group of House Democrats will introduce a bill on Friday to help protect millions of nurses and other health care workers from the high rates of violence they experience on the job. The new bill, called the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, would require hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, and jails to develop a workplace safety plan to protect their workers from violence they experience at the hands of patients - a surprisingly common phenomen… Continue Reading

House Democrats have a sweeping plan to protect millions of workers’ legal rights

by Alexia Fernández Campbell

11.14.18   The week leading up to the midterm elections was filled with political drama. It included intense fear-mongering about a migrant caravan, complaints of widespread voter suppression, and leaks about President Donald Trump's intention to fire his attorney general. Amid all of this, House Democrats introduced a major bill that would protect access to the court system to millions of US workers. On October 30, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and a group of House Democrats introduced the Restoring Justic… Continue Reading

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