Year of the Progressive? Progressive issues are a part of a rising tide of subjects that are gaining steam. The issues are perhaps spearheaded by more than 2.1 million Americans signing up so far for health coverage under Obamacare (and counting). Remember when Republicans repeated over and over that Americans didn’t want it?Â The number can only get larger.Â As New York introduced a new progressive Mayor into office this week, it seems liberal policy is getting a boost without apology.
As Congress returns to session on Monday, several progressive issues are front and center. They include: unemployment benefits, military retirement benefits, minimum wage and health care.Â Of course the GOP in the House have their won spin.Â House Majority Leader has informed GOP members there will be votes on healthcare.gov’s so far non existentÂ “security” security issues.Â The GOP would appear poised to continue offering no policy other than criticism.
At a press conference in early December, Progressive Caucus leader Rep. Keith Ellison joined a protest in favor of raising the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour or about $15,000 a year. On December 28th, 1.3 million Americans lost their long-term unemployment benefits as Congress left town.
“We in Congress will try to raise the minimum wage. We’ve got opponents on the other side of the aisle who say that there shouldn’t be no minimum wage. So, we are in difficulty fighting these guys,” he told the crowd.Â Ellison was referring to a statement by a Republican colleague, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who stated that he wanted the minimum wage repealed in early December.Â Meet a few of the unemployed whose benefits were cut.
“But, we know, at the executive level, an executive order can change the situation. We demand it, right now. Mr. President, sign the executive order. We demand this federal worker work reform, federal contractors. Give the pay raise, the livable, fair wage. Let’s do it now. I gave him a letter to this effect, yesterday,” Ellison told the press.
Ellison brought up an interesting point: That even though President Obama has spoken out on the wealth gap he has failed to actually do something that is within his power on the issue.Â The President could issue an executive order mandating that all federal employees be paid the minimum wage.Â On Capitol Hill and at other agencies, food service employees and other workers hired by the federal government are not making the minimum wage in one of the nation’s most expensive cities to live in: Washington DC.Â Everyone knows the House GOP will block any attempt to move a bill through Congress.Â Will there be an executive order by the President?