Today’s News & Commentary — January 3, 2018

Published January 3rd, 2018 -  - 01.03.1816


The Washington Post examines Congress’s full agenda in the face of impending deadlines.  Priorities include legislation to stave off a government shutdown, the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and concerns over the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).  Congress’s Continuing Resolution ends on January 19, and Congress must pass a new spending measure to avoid a government shutdown.  Complicating this issue, progressive groups have been urging Democrats to refuse to support a funding deal if DACA is not included.  Senior leadership from both sides of the aisle are scheduled to meet with White House officials today to explore whether a bipartisan compromise is possible.  Congress also punted on funding for CHIP by authorizing short-term funding before the holiday recess.  Now with CHIP set to run out of funding in the next few months, Democrats and Republicans will likely showdown over the source of this funding.  A Republican-backed bill passed the House in November, but Democrats opposed it because the funding for the program was taken from a preventative-health fund authorized under the Affordable Care Act.  Read more here.

High-profile figures continue to face repercussions stemming from allegations of sexual harassment in the new year.  Vice Media put both Andrew Creighton, the company’s president, and Mike Germano, its chief digital officer, on leave following a New York Times piece examining allegations of sexual harassment and a “top-down ethos of male entitlement at Vice.”  In response to the flood of sexual harassment allegations that have been unleashed in recent months, individuals in power have put forth efforts to curb sexual harassment in the workplace.  Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “announced plans to propose legislation that would block government officials from using taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment claims, ban confidentiality agreements related to sexual harassment in state and local government, and standardize anti-harassment policies across government agencies.”  These ideas are similar to those put forth in legislation from state legislators of both parties.  And Chief Justice Roberts, in his State of the Judiciary Report, signaled the need for the federal court system to improve its handling of harassment complaints.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Elisabeth Mason, the founding director of the Stanford Poverty and Technology Lab and a senior adviser at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, makes the case that artificial intelligence and big data can be used to pair workers with jobs, forecast areas of job growth, tailor education to better reflect students’ learning styles, and improve government programs. Read more here.

In other news, 18 states will raise their minimum wages in 2018.  These increases include raises as a result of indexing to inflation.  The Wall Street Journal has a full list available here.

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