Today's News and Commentary – October 31
In immigration news, the Los Angeles Times reports that some Republican Members of Congress are finally signing on the Democrats’ comprehensive immigration reform bill in the house. Representatives Valadao and Denham, both Republicans from California, have announced their support for the bill, which is similar to the immigration reform bill the Senate passed over the summer. It provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the country, as well as for increased border security.
The University of California system announced that it would spend $5 million on counseling and financial aid for students who are illegal immigrants, according to the New York Times. Janet Napolitano, the former Secretary of Homeland Security who is now President of the UC system, announced the new funding in her first public address as University President.
The Washington Post reports that laborers across Indonesia are on a two-day nation-wide strike. The chairman of Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions reports that approximately two million workers are striking; the police report that the numbers are actually in the thousands. Workers are demanding a fifty percent increase in the minimum wage, which would raise wages in the capital city, Jakarta, to about $330 per month.
Politico reports that Social Security benefits will increase by 1.5% this year, one of the lowest increases since 1975, when automatic cost of living adjustments were adopted. The very low rate of inflation during recent years accounts for the low increase. The announcement of the cost of living adjustment was meant to come out two weeks ago, but was delayed due to the government shutdown.
Although the Senate yesterday approved Richard Griffin to be NLRB general counsel, Senators on both sides are gearing up for a renewed Republican effort to filibuster President Obama’s nominees, the Washington Post reports. Republicans plan on continuing to filibuster Patricia Millet’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit and Rep. Mell Watt’s (D-NC) nomination to lead the Federal Housing Authority. Some Senators have also threatened to filibuster Janet Yellen’s nomination to for Federal Reserve Chairman and Jeh Johnson’s nomination for Homeland Security Secretary.