News & Commentary

February 12, 2018

Vivian Dong

Vivian Dong is a student at Harvard Law School.

This evening, the Senate is expected to begin an open-ended debate on immigration reform.  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is using a neutral House bill unrelated to immigration as the base legislation, giving senators wide discretion to propose whatever they want.  A proposal must receive 60 votes to become part of the base bill, and a bill must receive 60 votes in order to leave the Senate.  Protecting “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, will find support among both Republican and Democratic senators.  The majority of Americans support some protection for Dreamers.  But senators wish to pass a broader immigration bill, which may also address contentious issues like the diversity visa lottery, family-based immigration, and border security funding.

The White House will unveil a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package today.  The package has four main goals: securing $1.5 trillion to support the proposal, expediting the permitting process for infrastructure projects down to two years, investing in rural infrastructure projects, and advancing workplace training.  The White House has already confirmed a $200 billion direct federal investment in the package, funded by cuts from an impending White House budget.  The package will focus on public-private partnerships and getting matching funds from state and local governments.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company and its namesake founders yesterday, alleging that they violated state and local laws on gender discrimination and sexual harassment.  The lawsuit’s filing suddenly stopped the Weinstein Company’s firesale , which was expected to be finalized just hours afterwards.  The lawsuit could bankrupt the already-shaken media company.  The investor group that planned to acquire the company is led by a woman, Maria Contreras-Sweet, who has publicly committed to creating a multimillion-dollar settlement fund for Weinstein’s victims if the deal goes through.

The New York Times examines how over the past two decades, employers have increasingly come to rely upon one-time bonuses to compensate workers in lieu of increasing their salary.  One-time bonuses are part of a broader shift to “pay-for-performance” type compensation, which businesses believe makes workers work harder, and which gives businesses greater fiscal flexibility in their labor spending.

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