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Republican Senators Propose Raising Minimum Wage From $7.25 To $10

Two Republican senators made a counterproposal to Democrats on the minimum wage Tuesday, offering to gradually hike the federal wage floor to $10 per hour while requiring employers to use E-Verify to crack down on undocumented workers.

The plan put forth by GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Mitt Romney (Utah) falls well short of the $15 hourly wage that progressives in both the House and Senate are pushing for. Its immigration provisions could also draw stiff resistance from Democrats as well as business groups.

Romney, one of the few moderate Republicans known to cross the aisle to work with Democrats, argued that the more modest wage increase would prevent job losses and that the expanded use of E-Verify would discourage undocumented workers from entering the U.S.

“We must create opportunities for American workers and protect their jobs, while also eliminating one of the key drivers of illegal immigration,” Romney said in a statement.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is one of the two senators behind a minimum wage counterproposal presented to Democrats on Tuesday.



Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is one of the two senators behind a minimum wage counterproposal presented to Democrats on Tuesday. 

The Romney-Cotton proposal shows just how far apart Democrats and Republicans are on the issue of the minimum wage. 

Democrats are attempting to push through a proposal that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next four years, with no strings attached, as part of their COVID-19 relief package. It would also eliminate the “tipped” minimum wage that allows employers to pay servers and other workers who receive gratuities a lower base wage.

Knowing Republicans are unlikely to sign on to a $15 minimum wage — or any of their COVID-19 relief plan, really — Democrats have been attempting to push their bill through a legislative process called budget reconciliation. That would allow them to pass their legislation with only 50 votes in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaker, but it also potentially would limit Democrats’ abilities to act on the minimum wage.

For one, two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), already have come out against a $15 minimum wage. Manchin said he is supportive of a narrower increase, to $11 an hour. 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and hasn’t been raised in more than a decade.

But even if all 50 Democrats were on board, Senate rules require that all legislation passed through budget reconciliation have a significant and direct impact on the federal budget. The Senate parliamentarian is set to rule this week whether increasing the minimum wage passes muster.

If it doesn’t, Democrats may not have much of a choice but to compromise across the aisle and pass legislation separate from the relief bill.

Romney told reporters Tuesday that senators will “need to sit down and work on a bipartisan proposal” if the minimum wage isn’t passed through reconciliation, according to the Hill press pool. 

“We’re open to considering other people’s points of view. But I think the recognition that we need to raise the minimum wage and tie it to an inflator makes sense,” Romney said. “And then I think linking that with a system that enforces our immigration laws and prevents people from coming here illegally and taking away jobs from from people at the entry level of our economy, it makes a lot of sense.”

Already, Democrats have said the proposal falls far too short.

“While I’m glad some Republicans in Congress are finally acknowledging $7.25 an hour isn’t a livable wage, a $2.75 an hour increase for some workers stretched out over five years just isn’t enough,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the Senate, said in a statement to HuffPost.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) joined with Romney to propose a $10 federal minimum wage this week. 



Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) joined with Romney to propose a $10 federal minimum wage this week. 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and hasn’t been raised in more than a decade. While Republicans in Congress have allowed it to languish, many states have gone ahead and implemented their own increases by popular demand. That includes Cotton’s home state of Arkansas, where the wage floor last month reached $11 due to a 2018 ballot initiative. That’s a full dollar more than where Cotton’s proposal would have the federal rate in 2026.

The success of the Fight for $15 campaign in fast food has helped make a $15 minimum wage part of the Democratic Party platform, and something progressives in the party would have a hard time walking away from. The last time Democrats widely supported a $10 federal wage floor was several years ago, before states such as California, Connecticut and even Florida began adopting their own $15 plans. 

The AFL-CIO labor federation was not impressed with the Republicans’ proposal.

“What an insult to the millions of people working every day to keep this country afloat,” John Weber, a federation spokesperson, said in an email. “The Romney-Cotton plan is a recipe for labor exploitation. It’s designed to undercut wages, keep essential workers in extended poverty, and deny America a desperately-needed raise right when we need it most.”

The Romney-Cotton proposal does show some congressional progress on the issue, by virtue of the fact that it’s a proposal at all. There has been little support among Republicans for any kind of increase, although Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also proposed a minimum wage increase, to $10.10, along with some business tax cuts, in 2017. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) prevented minimum wage plans from going anywhere in the upper chamber while he was majority leader. 

The success of the Fight for $15 campaign in fast food has helped make a $15 minimum wage part of the Democratic Party platform.

The new proposal would tie the minimum wage to an inflation index, an idea also supported by Democrats. But the senators’ decision to attach immigration policy to the minimum wage increase is sure to rankle Democrats. 

Mandatory use of E-Verify has been panned by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the practice creates “a whole new level of intrusive government oversight of daily life—a bureaucratic ‘prove yourself to work’ system that hurts ordinary people.” 

For Democrats, an E-Verify mandate has always been accepted as a bargaining chip with Republicans. Democrats contentiously agreed to it in 2013 while negotiating a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have given millions of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. That effort ultimately died in the House.

During the 2020 presidential primary, several candidates, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), came out against E-Verify. Others, like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), maintained that it would be acceptable in a compromise. Notably, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stayed quiet on the issue in the runup to the 2020 election. 

In that case, the question for Democrats will be whether a narrower minimum wage increase is a good enough trade to enact these immigration reforms.

Democrats like Murray are balking at the notion. She called the immigration provisions “unacceptable” and “an attack on hard-working immigrant families.”

“After more than a decade since the last federal minimum wage increase, this unnecessarily partisan proposal that doesn’t come close to the $15 an hour two-thirds of Americans from both parties support—which is what we will keep working to get done,” Murray said.

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Texas Republicans Prioritized Nonsense Over Winterizing The Energy Grid

AUSTIN, Texas ― Days before a winter storm plunged Texas into a prolonged freeze, bursting water pipes and cutting off electricity, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) announced a new legislative priority: All publicly funded events in the state would have to play the national anthem. 

Barring special sessions, the Texas legislature meets only once every two years for five months, so Patrick’s priorities can crowd out other goals. That the archconservative, who presides over the state Senate, thought this issue merited the legislature’s limited bandwidth in the midst of a pandemic and widespread unemployment tells you everything you need to know about him. 

Over the last week, as state leaders like Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called for investigations into the lapses behind the catastrophic failures that left millions without power, the Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act probably seemed a little less urgent, even to Patrick. But his inane choice of priorities wasn’t unusual. And it helps to understand how things went so wrong in Texas in the first place. 

The problem is simple: In a sunny state that rarely sees prolonged freezes, power companies didn’t invest much in precautions to deal with extremely cold weather or to fortify the system’s reserve capacity. Texas lawmakers did equally little to either incentivize or require the utilities to prepare for uncommon catastrophes like the one that hit the state last week. 

That’s not to say Texas Republicans did nothing to address the problem. A similar, though less severe, winter storm caused widespread rolling blackouts in 2011. In response, then-state Sen. Glenn Hegar wrote a bill demanding a report to assess how Texas could ensure reliable electric service during extreme weather events. The law sailed through and the Public Utilities Commission of Texas wrote a report. But that’s about as far as it went.

Instead, Republicans, who have controlled every statewide office and both houses of the legislature since 2003, have prioritized social battles like Patrick’s national anthem crusade. In their zeal, they’ve often neglected ho-hum tasks like winterizing the energy grid, against the advice they themselves commissioned. That lack of interest is the backdrop against which some 4 million Texans lost power at the height of the crisis, while many more were left without drinkable water and dozens died

In perhaps the most emblematic episode of Texas Republicans’ tendency to elevate phantom problems over real ones, legislators finished the 2017 session without taking action on a must-pass sunset bill to keep several state agencies from shutting down. (In Texas, the legislature must periodically vote to perpetuate most state agencies or they get abolished.) This happened not because legislators thought state agencies shouldn’t stay open, but because Patrick had a more urgent project: He wanted to pass a law forcing Texans to use the public restroom of the gender on their birth certificate. 

Critics saw that measure as an attack on transgender people, many of whom don’t change their documents after transitioning because of the bureaucratic hurdles involved. Patrick contended that he was, in fact, targeting bathroom-switching sexual predators who, in his mind, could not be prosecuted hard enough under existing law. 

His intransigence on the issue forced Abbott to call a special session of the legislature. The bathroom bill ultimately failed, and the sunset bill passed ― but only after lawmakers wasted time that could have been used to deal with problems whose existence can be verified. 

“Texas has been in the hands of people who don’t believe in government in the first place,” former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (D) said at a press conference last Friday. “It’s a crisis of leadership that has real consequences for families across the state.”

A "Product Limits" sign appears on water shelves in a Houston supermarket on Feb. 20, following a winter storm that left mill



A “Product Limits” sign appears on water shelves in a Houston supermarket on Feb. 20, following a winter storm that left millions without power and caused water pipes to burst.

The annals of Texas legislation are filled with projects of questionable urgency that cut in line ahead of down-to-earth measures that might have done more to keep the lights on and the water running ― especially from the early Obama years to the 2018 midterm elections, when the Republican right enjoyed its strongest influence, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. 

“We just saw much less concern with overall governance issues and much more concern with red meat issues that appealed to the base, even if they were unlikely to have any real policy consequences,” Jones said. “The point was to signal to the base that you were pursuing the true Republican agenda.” 

Some of these issues were the kind of innocuous legal tweaks that might crop up in any statehouse ― though in retrospect, winterizing vulnerable gas and water lines seems more important than criminalizing bestiality or making sure no one’s confused that teachers can say “Merry Christmas.” 

Others were more politically contentious. A yearslong battle in the state legislature ended with a 2011 law requiring Texans to show a photo ID before casting a ballot, which prompted a long-running court battle. Republicans never proved that voter fraud posed anything resembling a threat to elections, but prosecuting the few isolated cases he can find remains a top priority for state Attorney General Ken Paxton. (Like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Paxton left the state at the height of the winter freeze.)

And measures effectively restricting immigration have been a perennial GOP favorite, no matter how superfluous or redundant. When the Texas legislature in 2017 passed a crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation with immigration authorities, only one county in the state had adopted such a policy. Texas has heaved more than $2 billion at the border over the last decade, even though the federal government already polices it heavily with officers from three agencies that, unlike the National Guard troops and state police deployed by Abbott, are legally empowered to make immigration arrests. 

Much of the ideological preening of the last decade owes to the ascendance of the Texas GOP’s right wing during President Barack Obama’s first term. The year 2017 marked the apex of Republican social conservatism in the state largely because the party’s right suffered heavy losses at the polls the next year, as former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s attempt to dislodge Ted Cruz from his Senate seat unexpectedly drove Democratic turnout across the state. 

“It put the fear of God into Texas Republicans,” Jones said. “That really sobered Republicans as they went into the 2019 legislative session. In comparative terms, they really downplayed the ideological issues.” 

But Republican leaders still struggle to shake the old habit of tilting at windmills. In an interview with Fox News last week, Abbott cited the Texas power debacle as reason to condemn the Green New Deal, a progressive proposal to sprint toward renewable energy. Critics pounced on him, pointing out the obvious: The Texas energy grid is powered overwhelmingly by fossil fuels. 

“We don’t have the Green New Deal here in Texas,” said U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, a Fort Worth Democrat. “They have been in charge of this.” 

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Rep. Deb Haaland Fends Off Republican Attacks At Contentious Confirmation Hearing

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Joe’s Biden’s pick to lead the Interior Department, kicked off her confirmation hearing Tuesday by acknowledging the “historic nature” of the moment, as she stands to become the nation’s first-ever Indigenous Cabinet member. But she also tried to head off opposition from Republicans who have painted her as an “extreme,” “radical” threat to fossil fuel production and the American “way of life.” 

“I hope this nomination would be an inspiration for Americans — moving forward together as one nation and creating opportunities for all of us,” she told lawmakers.

Haaland, 60, vowed to be “a fierce advocate for public lands” and consult all stakeholders to strike the right balance between natural resource development and conservation. She also said she’d “work my heart out for everyone,” including fossil fuel workers, ranchers, communities suffering from legacy pollution and “people of color whose stories deserve to be heard.” 

“There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come,” Haaland said. “I know how important oil and gas revenues are to critical services. But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed.”

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) speaks Tuesday during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nominatio



Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) speaks Tuesday during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to run the Interior Department.

It didn’t take long for the mudslinging to start. 

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the committee’s ranking Republican, told Haaland he is “troubled by many of [her] views,” which he described as “squarely at odds with the responsible management” of public lands. He also questioned Haaland about one of Biden’s early executive orders on climate, which he falsely said “bans all new oil, coal, gas leases on federal lands.”

“He didn’t ban new leases,” Haaland responded. “He didn’t put a moratorium on new leases. It’s a pause to review the federal fossil fuel program.” 

Experts told HuffPost last month that the temporary pause will not have a significant immediate impact on the industry, which stockpiled federal leases and permits to drill on public lands and waters toward the end of the Trump administration. 

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) read off a number of Haaland’s previous statements voicing opposition to new pipeline projects, hydraulic fracturing and new fossil fuel leasing on federal lands. 

“I’m just concerned about proceeding with this nomination,” Daines said. “The track record, the ideology in the past, I think, will perpetuate more divisiveness and will certainly harm Montana’s economy.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questions Haaland at a committee hearing on her nomination.



Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questions Haaland at a committee hearing on her nomination.

Haaland largely fended off the attacks. She reminded Republicans that she is being tapped to help carry out Biden’s agenda and stressed that she would follow the law. 

“If I’m confirmed as secretary, it is President Biden’s agenda, not my own agenda, that I would be moving forward,” she told Daines. Many of the policies Haaland will be tasked with implementing are popular among voters nationally, according to a survey released earlier this month by Data for Progress.

The secretary post is a “far different role than a congresswoman representing one small district in my state,” she added later. “I understand that role: It’s to serve all Americans, not just my one district in New Mexico.”

Haaland is by all standards a qualified choice to lead Interior, an agency of some 70,000 employees that manages 500 million acres of federal land — roughly one-fifth of the U.S. The agency is in charge of the 63 national parks, the Bureau of Indian Education, and upholding the government’s trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations. She is currently a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and chairs its subcommittee with oversight of the Interior Department, and is co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. 

If an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as Secretary
of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone.

Rep. Deb Haaland, speakign at her confirmation hearing Tuesday

Democratic and Republican House colleagues have said Haaland has a strong record of working across the aisle; in 2019, she introduced 13 bipartisan-cosponsored bills, which was more than any House freshman. She maintains a 98% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. 

Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna who made history in 2018 as one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, has broad support among elected tribal leaders, intertribal organizations, and green and progressive groups. Last week, nearly 500 organizations signed onto a letter to Senate leadership calling for Haaland’s speedy confirmation.

Yet Haaland has emerged as one of Biden’s most contentious Cabinet picks. Two weeks before Tuesday’s hearing, GOP lawmakers, including many who have received large sums of money from the oil and gas industry, began signaling they’d vote against her confirmation. Daines and Barrasso dismissed her as “radical,” citing, among other things, her support for reining in fossil fuel development on federal lands. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said Haaland’s confirmation “would be disastrous for western states, including her home state of New Mexico.” 

Tribes, tribal groups and environmental organizations have voiced disappointment and disgust with the Republican senators’ campaign to sink Haaland’s nomination before she’d been given a chance to answer questions in public. 

“People are going to use her to complain about Biden’s policies,” Gerald Torres, professor of environmental justice at the Yale School of the Environment, told HuffPost ahead of the hearing. “They need to look at her record.” 

Rep. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) speaks at a hearing in June. She defended Haaland this week when Republicans tried to paint the



Rep. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) speaks at a hearing in June. She defended Haaland this week when Republicans tried to paint the nominee as a “radical.” 

Democrats repeatedly came to Haaland’s defense on Tuesday. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) told Haaland it felt like her nomination has become “a proxy fight about the future of fossil fuels.” And Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) pushed back at Republicans’ assertions that Biden’s executive orders have cost thousands of oil and gas jobs in his home state.

“We have not lost thousands of jobs in the oil and gas sector in New Mexico because there is no ban, and because the industry stockpiled an enormous number of leases under the fire sale that Secretary [David] Bernhardt had at the end of the last administration,” he said. “However, I want to say, we do recognize that we will need to move to a fully decarbonized economy and, frankly, pretending that isn’t going to happen is not going to serve any of our workers well.”

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who introduced Haaland to the committee and urged senators to vote for her confirmation, highlighted her bipartisan record. He praised Haaland as a friend who has reached across the aisle, and said that while he and others might not always agree with her, they can count on her to listen and hear their concerns. 

“It’s my job to convince her she’s not always right, and her job is to convince me I’m not always right,” said Young, the longest-serving member of Congress.

In a call with reporters on Monday, Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), who along with Haaland made history as one of the first Native American congresswomen, said her colleague was a “fierce advocate and organizer in Indian country” and a “champion of the environment” long before being sworn into Congress. There is no one more qualified or prepared to lead the agency, Davids said.

“The attacks that have been waged against her have been waged by some of the closest allies of Big Oil,” she said. “It’s really nothing more than an attempt to protect their bottom line, their special interests. These senators know that Congresswoman Haaland, soon-to-be secretary, will stand up to Big Oil and it scares them. It terrifies them.” 

Haaland’s loudest opponents have indeed been bankrolled in no small part by the oil and gas industry, as HuffPost previously reported. If confirmed, Haaland will succeed David Bernhardt, a former oil and agricultural lobbyist, and take over the agency after the Trump administration dismantled environmental safeguards and prioritized energy development over land and species conservation. 

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, echoed that opposition to Haaland is driven by industry influence and a resistance to changing the status quo of repeatedly failing to confront climate change. 

“It has been all about the extraction industry for the last four years, with [the Bureau of Land Management] practically turning into a real estate department under Trump and giving away public land right and left to the industry and to polluters, with no consequences and no accountability,” Grijalva said on a press call Monday. 

“Deb’s going to do something about it,” he added. “And they know it.” 

Haaland will appear again before the committee for a second round of questions on Wednesday.

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Rachel Maddow Unloads On GOP Senators For Inventing New Standards For Biden’s Cabinet Picks

During her program on Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow ripped into the Republican double standard being used to evaluate Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks.

Maddow blasted Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Richard Burr (R-NC), in particular, for inventing new requirements for Cabinet nominees, simply because it is now a Democratic president making the nominations.

“So Senator Cruz is against Xavier Becerra because Becerra is not a doctor,” the MSNBC host said. “Nevertheless, Senator Ted Cruz voted for the last health secretary under President Trump, who was a man named Alex Azar.”

“You will be shocked to learn, Alex Azar is also not a doctor,” Maddow said.

Sen. Burr also opposes Biden’s pick for health secretary, saying Becerra’s time working on health-related committees in Congress does not make him qualified for the Cabinet post.

Maddow busted Burr for supporting a Trump nominee with similar qualifications.

“Being on committees that work on something, that’s not enough to make you qualified to serve in the Cabinet on that issue, unless you’re nominated by a Republican president, and then it’s okay,” the MSNBC host said.

Video:

Maddow said:

So Senator Cruz is against Xavier Becerra because Becerra is not a doctor. Nevertheless, Senator Ted Cruz voted for the last health secretary under President Trump, who was a man named Alex Azar. Senator Cruz voted for Alex Azar to be health secretary even though – you will be shocked to learn – Alex Azar is also not a doctor. See, it’s unacceptable to nominate a non-doctor to be health secretary unless that nominee is from a Republican president, in which case I have to go. Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina has also expressed objection to Xavier Becerra being nominated as health secretary. Senator Burr’s objection is that Xavier Becerra served in Congress for a long time on committees that had important oversight roles on health care issues, he was involved in a lot of health care policy that way. But Senator Burr says that is not appropriate experience for somebody joining the cabinet to work on health issues. … Despite that stance now, under President Trump, Senator Richard Burr expressed great enthusiasm for a Trump cabinet nominee named Dan Coats. Dan Coats was nominated to be director of national intelligence. Why did Senator Burr like Dan Coats for that job so much?  … Well, Senator Burr explained it at the time. He said Dan Coats would be an excellent choice for director of national intelligence. He said Dan’s experience as a valued member of Senate Intelligence Committee will help to guide him as the next director of national intelligence. He said I think his time on the committee has served him to understand what that role entails. So to be clear, just serving in Congress, being on committees that work on something, that’s not enough to make you qualified to serve in the cabinet on that issue, unless you’re nominated by a Republican president and then it’s okay. But if you’re nominated by a Democratic president on the same basis, then you are deeply unqualified.

Trump-supporting lawmakers suddenly care about qualifications

After four years of bowing down to a Republican president who hired family members and right-wing cable news pundits, GOP lawmakers are pretending to care about qualifications.

But these same Republican lawmakers who supported a game show host for president have lost their right to lecture the country about credentials.

President Biden has nominated a diverse group of competent, qualified individuals to serve in his Cabinet. The Senate should quickly confirm them so the new president and his team can do the job of cleaning up Donald Trump’s mess.

Follow Sean Colarossi on Facebook and Twitter

Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.

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Republican Senators Propose Raising Minimum Wage From $7.25 To $10

Two Republican senators made a counterproposal to Democrats on the minimum wage Tuesday, offering to gradually hike the federal wage floor to $10 per hour while requiring employers to use E-Verify to crack down on undocumented workers.

The plan put forth by GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Mitt Romney (Utah) falls well short of the $15 hourly wage that progressives in both the House and Senate are pushing for. Its immigration provisions could also draw stiff resistance from Democrats as well as business groups.

Romney, one of the few moderate Republicans known to cross the aisle to work with Democrats, argued that the more modest wage increase would prevent job losses and that the expanded use of E-Verify would discourage undocumented workers from entering the U.S.

“We must create opportunities for American workers and protect their jobs, while also eliminating one of the key drivers of illegal immigration,” Romney said in a statement.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is one of the two senators behind a minimum wage counterproposal presented to Democrats on Tuesday.



Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is one of the two senators behind a minimum wage counterproposal presented to Democrats on Tuesday. 

The Romney-Cotton proposal shows just how far apart Democrats and Republicans are on the issue of the minimum wage. 

Democrats are attempting to push through a proposal that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next four years, with no strings attached, as part of their COVID-19 relief package. It would also eliminate the “tipped” minimum wage that allows employers to pay servers and other workers who receive gratuities a lower base wage.

Knowing Republicans are unlikely to sign on to a $15 minimum wage — or any of their COVID-19 relief plan, really — Democrats have been attempting to push their bill through a legislative process called budget reconciliation. That would allow them to pass their legislation with only 50 votes in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaker, but it also potentially would limit Democrats’ abilities to act on the minimum wage.

For one, two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), already have come out against a $15 minimum wage. Manchin said he is supportive of a narrower increase, to $11 an hour. 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and hasn’t been raised in more than a decade.

But even if all 50 Democrats were on board, Senate rules require that all legislation passed through budget reconciliation have a significant and direct impact on the federal budget. The Senate parliamentarian is set to rule this week whether increasing the minimum wage passes muster.

If it doesn’t, Democrats may not have much of a choice but to compromise across the aisle and pass legislation separate from the relief bill.

Romney told reporters Tuesday that senators will “need to sit down and work on a bipartisan proposal” if the minimum wage isn’t passed through reconciliation, according to the Hill press pool. 

“We’re open to considering other people’s points of view. But I think the recognition that we need to raise the minimum wage and tie it to an inflator makes sense,” Romney said. “And then I think linking that with a system that enforces our immigration laws and prevents people from coming here illegally and taking away jobs from from people at the entry level of our economy, it makes a lot of sense.”

Already, Democrats have said the proposal falls far too short.

“While I’m glad some Republicans in Congress are finally acknowledging $7.25 an hour isn’t a livable wage, a $2.75 an hour increase for some workers stretched out over five years just isn’t enough,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the Senate, said in a statement to HuffPost.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) joined with Romney to propose a $10 federal minimum wage this week. 



Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) joined with Romney to propose a $10 federal minimum wage this week. 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and hasn’t been raised in more than a decade. While Republicans in Congress have allowed it to languish, many states have gone ahead and implemented their own increases by popular demand. That includes Cotton’s home state of Arkansas, where the wage floor last month reached $11 due to a 2018 ballot initiative. That’s a full dollar more than where Cotton’s proposal would have the federal rate in 2026.

The success of the Fight for $15 campaign in fast food has helped make a $15 minimum wage part of the Democratic Party platform, and something progressives in the party would have a hard time walking away from. The last time Democrats widely supported a $10 federal wage floor was several years ago, before states such as California, Connecticut and even Florida began adopting their own $15 plans. 

The AFL-CIO labor federation was not impressed with the Republicans’ proposal.

“What an insult to the millions of people working every day to keep this country afloat,” John Weber, a federation spokesperson, said in an email. “The Romney-Cotton plan is a recipe for labor exploitation. It’s designed to undercut wages, keep essential workers in extended poverty, and deny America a desperately-needed raise right when we need it most.”

The Romney-Cotton proposal does show some congressional progress on the issue, by virtue of the fact that it’s a proposal at all. There has been little support among Republicans for any kind of increase, although Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also proposed a minimum wage increase, to $10.10, along with some business tax cuts, in 2017. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) prevented minimum wage plans from going anywhere in the upper chamber while he was majority leader. 

The success of the Fight for $15 campaign in fast food has helped make a $15 minimum wage part of the Democratic Party platform.

The new proposal would tie the minimum wage to an inflation index, an idea also supported by Democrats. But the senators’ decision to attach immigration policy to the minimum wage increase is sure to rankle Democrats. 

Mandatory use of E-Verify has been panned by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which says the practice creates “a whole new level of intrusive government oversight of daily life—a bureaucratic ‘prove yourself to work’ system that hurts ordinary people.” 

For Democrats, an E-Verify mandate has always been accepted as a bargaining chip with Republicans. Democrats contentiously agreed to it in 2013 while negotiating a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have given millions of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. That effort ultimately died in the House.

During the 2020 presidential primary, several candidates, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), came out against E-Verify. Others, like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), maintained that it would be acceptable in a compromise. Notably, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stayed quiet on the issue in the runup to the 2020 election. 

In that case, the question for Democrats will be whether a narrower minimum wage increase is a good enough trade to enact these immigration reforms.

Democrats like Murray are balking at the notion. She called the immigration provisions “unacceptable” and “an attack on hard-working immigrant families.”

“After more than a decade since the last federal minimum wage increase, this unnecessarily partisan proposal that doesn’t come close to the $15 an hour two-thirds of Americans from both parties support—which is what we will keep working to get done,” Murray said.

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Politics

Texas Republicans Prioritized Nonsense Over Winterizing The Energy Grid

AUSTIN, Texas ― Days before a winter storm plunged Texas into a prolonged freeze, bursting water pipes and cutting off electricity, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) announced a new legislative priority: All publicly funded events in the state would have to play the national anthem. 

Barring special sessions, the Texas legislature meets only once every two years for five months, so Patrick’s priorities can crowd out other goals. That the archconservative, who presides over the state Senate, thought this issue merited the legislature’s limited bandwidth in the midst of a pandemic and widespread unemployment tells you everything you need to know about him. 

Over the last week, as state leaders like Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called for investigations into the lapses behind the catastrophic failures that left millions without power, the Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act probably seemed a little less urgent, even to Patrick. But his inane choice of priorities wasn’t unusual. And it helps to understand how things went so wrong in Texas in the first place. 

The problem is simple: In a sunny state that rarely sees prolonged freezes, power companies didn’t invest much in precautions to deal with extremely cold weather or to fortify the system’s reserve capacity. Texas lawmakers did equally little to either incentivize or require the utilities to prepare for uncommon catastrophes like the one that hit the state last week. 

That’s not to say Texas Republicans did nothing to address the problem. A similar, though less severe, winter storm caused widespread rolling blackouts in 2011. In response, then-state Sen. Glenn Hegar wrote a bill demanding a report to assess how Texas could ensure reliable electric service during extreme weather events. The law sailed through and the Public Utilities Commission of Texas wrote a report. But that’s about as far as it went.

Instead, Republicans, who have controlled every statewide office and both houses of the legislature since 2003, have prioritized social battles like Patrick’s national anthem crusade. In their zeal, they’ve often neglected ho-hum tasks like winterizing the energy grid, against the advice they themselves commissioned. That lack of interest is the backdrop against which some 4 million Texans lost power at the height of the crisis, while many more were left without drinkable water and dozens died

In perhaps the most emblematic episode of Texas Republicans’ tendency to elevate phantom problems over real ones, legislators finished the 2017 session without taking action on a must-pass sunset bill to keep several state agencies from shutting down. (In Texas, the legislature must periodically vote to perpetuate most state agencies or they get abolished.) This happened not because legislators thought state agencies shouldn’t stay open, but because Patrick had a more urgent project: He wanted to pass a law forcing Texans to use the public restroom of the gender on their birth certificate. 

Critics saw that measure as an attack on transgender people, many of whom don’t change their documents after transitioning because of the bureaucratic hurdles involved. Patrick contended that he was, in fact, targeting bathroom-switching sexual predators who, in his mind, could not be prosecuted hard enough under existing law. 

His intransigence on the issue forced Abbott to call a special session of the legislature. The bathroom bill ultimately failed, and the sunset bill passed ― but only after lawmakers wasted time that could have been used to deal with problems whose existence can be verified. 

“Texas has been in the hands of people who don’t believe in government in the first place,” former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (D) said at a press conference last Friday. “It’s a crisis of leadership that has real consequences for families across the state.”

A "Product Limits" sign appears on water shelves in a Houston supermarket on Feb. 20, following a winter storm that left mill



A “Product Limits” sign appears on water shelves in a Houston supermarket on Feb. 20, following a winter storm that left millions without power and caused water pipes to burst.

The annals of Texas legislation are filled with projects of questionable urgency that cut in line ahead of down-to-earth measures that might have done more to keep the lights on and the water running ― especially from the early Obama years to the 2018 midterm elections, when the Republican right enjoyed its strongest influence, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. 

“We just saw much less concern with overall governance issues and much more concern with red meat issues that appealed to the base, even if they were unlikely to have any real policy consequences,” Jones said. “The point was to signal to the base that you were pursuing the true Republican agenda.” 

Some of these issues were the kind of innocuous legal tweaks that might crop up in any statehouse ― though in retrospect, winterizing vulnerable gas and water lines seems more important than criminalizing bestiality or making sure no one’s confused that teachers can say “Merry Christmas.” 

Others were more politically contentious. A yearslong battle in the state legislature ended with a 2011 law requiring Texans to show a photo ID before casting a ballot, which prompted a long-running court battle. Republicans never proved that voter fraud posed anything resembling a threat to elections, but prosecuting the few isolated cases he can find remains a top priority for state Attorney General Ken Paxton. (Like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Paxton left the state at the height of the winter freeze.)

And measures effectively restricting immigration have been a perennial GOP favorite, no matter how superfluous or redundant. When the Texas legislature in 2017 passed a crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation with immigration authorities, only one county in the state had adopted such a policy. Texas has heaved more than $2 billion at the border over the last decade, even though the federal government already polices it heavily with officers from three agencies that, unlike the National Guard troops and state police deployed by Abbott, are legally empowered to make immigration arrests. 

Much of the ideological preening of the last decade owes to the ascendance of the Texas GOP’s right wing during President Barack Obama’s first term. The year 2017 marked the apex of Republican social conservatism in the state largely because the party’s right suffered heavy losses at the polls the next year, as former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s attempt to dislodge Ted Cruz from his Senate seat unexpectedly drove Democratic turnout across the state. 

“It put the fear of God into Texas Republicans,” Jones said. “That really sobered Republicans as they went into the 2019 legislative session. In comparative terms, they really downplayed the ideological issues.” 

But Republican leaders still struggle to shake the old habit of tilting at windmills. In an interview with Fox News last week, Abbott cited the Texas power debacle as reason to condemn the Green New Deal, a progressive proposal to sprint toward renewable energy. Critics pounced on him, pointing out the obvious: The Texas energy grid is powered overwhelmingly by fossil fuels. 

“We don’t have the Green New Deal here in Texas,” said U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, a Fort Worth Democrat. “They have been in charge of this.” 

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Politics

Rep. Deb Haaland Fends Off Republican Attacks At Contentious Confirmation Hearing

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Joe’s Biden’s pick to lead the Interior Department, kicked off her confirmation hearing Tuesday by acknowledging the “historic nature” of the moment, as she stands to become the nation’s first-ever Indigenous Cabinet member. But she also tried to head off opposition from Republicans who have painted her as an “extreme,” “radical” threat to fossil fuel production and the American “way of life.” 

“I hope this nomination would be an inspiration for Americans — moving forward together as one nation and creating opportunities for all of us,” she told lawmakers.

Haaland, 60, vowed to be “a fierce advocate for public lands” and consult all stakeholders to strike the right balance between natural resource development and conservation. She also said she’d “work my heart out for everyone,” including fossil fuel workers, ranchers, communities suffering from legacy pollution and “people of color whose stories deserve to be heard.” 

“There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come,” Haaland said. “I know how important oil and gas revenues are to critical services. But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed.”

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) speaks Tuesday during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nominatio



Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) speaks Tuesday during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to run the Interior Department.

It didn’t take long for the mudslinging to start. 

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the committee’s ranking Republican, told Haaland he is “troubled by many of [her] views,” which he described as “squarely at odds with the responsible management” of public lands. He also questioned Haaland about one of Biden’s early executive orders on climate, which he falsely said “bans all new oil, coal, gas leases on federal lands.”

“He didn’t ban new leases,” Haaland responded. “He didn’t put a moratorium on new leases. It’s a pause to review the federal fossil fuel program.” 

Experts told HuffPost last month that the temporary pause will not have a significant immediate impact on the industry, which stockpiled federal leases and permits to drill on public lands and waters toward the end of the Trump administration. 

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) read off a number of Haaland’s previous statements voicing opposition to new pipeline projects, hydraulic fracturing and new fossil fuel leasing on federal lands. 

“I’m just concerned about proceeding with this nomination,” Daines said. “The track record, the ideology in the past, I think, will perpetuate more divisiveness and will certainly harm Montana’s economy.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questions Haaland at a committee hearing on her nomination.



Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questions Haaland at a committee hearing on her nomination.

Haaland largely fended off the attacks. She reminded Republicans that she is being tapped to help carry out Biden’s agenda and stressed that she would follow the law. 

“If I’m confirmed as secretary, it is President Biden’s agenda, not my own agenda, that I would be moving forward,” she told Daines. Many of the policies Haaland will be tasked with implementing are popular among voters nationally, according to a survey released earlier this month by Data for Progress.

The secretary post is a “far different role than a congresswoman representing one small district in my state,” she added later. “I understand that role: It’s to serve all Americans, not just my one district in New Mexico.”

Haaland is by all standards a qualified choice to lead Interior, an agency of some 70,000 employees that manages 500 million acres of federal land — roughly one-fifth of the U.S. The agency is in charge of the 63 national parks, the Bureau of Indian Education, and upholding the government’s trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations. She is currently a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and chairs its subcommittee with oversight of the Interior Department, and is co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. 

If an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as Secretary
of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone.

Rep. Deb Haaland, speakign at her confirmation hearing Tuesday

Democratic and Republican House colleagues have said Haaland has a strong record of working across the aisle; in 2019, she introduced 13 bipartisan-cosponsored bills, which was more than any House freshman. She maintains a 98% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. 

Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna who made history in 2018 as one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, has broad support among elected tribal leaders, intertribal organizations, and green and progressive groups. Last week, nearly 500 organizations signed onto a letter to Senate leadership calling for Haaland’s speedy confirmation.

Yet Haaland has emerged as one of Biden’s most contentious Cabinet picks. Two weeks before Tuesday’s hearing, GOP lawmakers, including many who have received large sums of money from the oil and gas industry, began signaling they’d vote against her confirmation. Daines and Barrasso dismissed her as “radical,” citing, among other things, her support for reining in fossil fuel development on federal lands. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said Haaland’s confirmation “would be disastrous for western states, including her home state of New Mexico.” 

Tribes, tribal groups and environmental organizations have voiced disappointment and disgust with the Republican senators’ campaign to sink Haaland’s nomination before she’d been given a chance to answer questions in public. 

“People are going to use her to complain about Biden’s policies,” Gerald Torres, professor of environmental justice at the Yale School of the Environment, told HuffPost ahead of the hearing. “They need to look at her record.” 

Rep. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) speaks at a hearing in June. She defended Haaland this week when Republicans tried to paint the



Rep. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) speaks at a hearing in June. She defended Haaland this week when Republicans tried to paint the nominee as a “radical.” 

Democrats repeatedly came to Haaland’s defense on Tuesday. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) told Haaland it felt like her nomination has become “a proxy fight about the future of fossil fuels.” And Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) pushed back at Republicans’ assertions that Biden’s executive orders have cost thousands of oil and gas jobs in his home state.

“We have not lost thousands of jobs in the oil and gas sector in New Mexico because there is no ban, and because the industry stockpiled an enormous number of leases under the fire sale that Secretary [David] Bernhardt had at the end of the last administration,” he said. “However, I want to say, we do recognize that we will need to move to a fully decarbonized economy and, frankly, pretending that isn’t going to happen is not going to serve any of our workers well.”

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who introduced Haaland to the committee and urged senators to vote for her confirmation, highlighted her bipartisan record. He praised Haaland as a friend who has reached across the aisle, and said that while he and others might not always agree with her, they can count on her to listen and hear their concerns. 

“It’s my job to convince her she’s not always right, and her job is to convince me I’m not always right,” said Young, the longest-serving member of Congress.

In a call with reporters on Monday, Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), who along with Haaland made history as one of the first Native American congresswomen, said her colleague was a “fierce advocate and organizer in Indian country” and a “champion of the environment” long before being sworn into Congress. There is no one more qualified or prepared to lead the agency, Davids said.

“The attacks that have been waged against her have been waged by some of the closest allies of Big Oil,” she said. “It’s really nothing more than an attempt to protect their bottom line, their special interests. These senators know that Congresswoman Haaland, soon-to-be secretary, will stand up to Big Oil and it scares them. It terrifies them.” 

Haaland’s loudest opponents have indeed been bankrolled in no small part by the oil and gas industry, as HuffPost previously reported. If confirmed, Haaland will succeed David Bernhardt, a former oil and agricultural lobbyist, and take over the agency after the Trump administration dismantled environmental safeguards and prioritized energy development over land and species conservation. 

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, echoed that opposition to Haaland is driven by industry influence and a resistance to changing the status quo of repeatedly failing to confront climate change. 

“It has been all about the extraction industry for the last four years, with [the Bureau of Land Management] practically turning into a real estate department under Trump and giving away public land right and left to the industry and to polluters, with no consequences and no accountability,” Grijalva said on a press call Monday. 

“Deb’s going to do something about it,” he added. “And they know it.” 

Haaland will appear again before the committee for a second round of questions on Wednesday.

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Politics

Trump Shows More Urgency Responding To Tiger Woods’ Car Crash Than The U.S. Capitol Attack

Disgraced ex-president Donald Trump quickly crawled out from under his Mar-a-Lago rock on Tuesday when the news broke of Tiger Woods’ car accident, pushing out a statement about the golfer before running to Fox News for an interview.

“I was really surprised,” Trump said of the car accident during a telephone appearance on Fox. “He won the Masters with a bad back, which tells you the level of talent is incredible and he’s been working on that and then has this happened, it’s just tragic, tragic.”

Trump added, “[Woods] had an incredible life and he’s going to continue to have an incredible life. … It’s pretty bad on the legs I understand.”

Woods is expected to be okay after suffering non-life-threatening injuries from the crash.

Video of Trump the golf commentator:

Trump’s rush to comment on the Tiger Woods news is a major departure from his behavior during the Capitol attack, when he sat on his hands and giddily watched cable news coverage of the insurrection that he caused.

It took six hours from when the Capitol was breached to when it was finally secured, largely due to the fact that Trump refused to act swiftly.

Trump finally finds a topic he’s qualified to talk about

For five years, Donald Trump dominated cable news coverage. That was particularly true during the pandemic when he staged made-for-TV press conferences in which he dismissed the virus and promoted dangerous and unproven treatments.

Trump was never qualified to be president of the United States. Whenever he opened his mouth in front of a microphone, anyone within listening distance became less informed about the world.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump finally found a topic he was qualified to talk about: golf.

Follow Sean Colarossi on Facebook and Twitter

Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.

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Politics

WATCH: Gaslight King Tucker Carlson Says There is No Evidence QAnon Even Exists

QAnon played a major role in the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol. More than a few of the mob members could be seen wearing QAnon paraphernalia. Other insurrectionists could be seen waving QAnon flags.

But Tucker Carlson has made a commitment to gaslighting his viewers, even if the evidence is right there in front of their faces. On Tuesday night, the Fox host said there is no evidence that QAnon even exists.

Carlson told his audience:

“So it’s worth finding out where the public is getting all this false information. This disinformation as we’ll call it. So we checked. We spent all day trying to locate the famous QAnon. Which in the end we learned is not even a website. If it’s out there, we couldn’t even find it. Then we checked Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter ’cause we have heard she traffics in disinformation, CNN told us. But nothing there.”

The QAnon movement does only exist, it is remarkably easy to find online. And multiple Republican lawmakers have spoken out against it.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said in early February, “Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country. Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s is not living in reality.”

Liz Cheney, the number two Republican in the House said earlier this month, “We are the party of Lincoln, we are not the party of QAnon or anti-Semitism or Holocaust-deniers, or white supremacy or conspiracy theories. That’s not who we are.”

Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and hillreporter.com. He enjoys sports, politics, comic books and spending time at the shore with his family.

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Politics

Beto O’Rourke Is Still Helping Texans Recover As Ted Cruz Slinks Into The Background

As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) returns to his role as a right-wing media troll with no intention of serving the public, Beto O’Rourke is still on the ground in Texas distributing clean water to those who haven’t had access to it for more than a week.

During a discussion with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, O’Rourke said he’s been all over the state, and some areas still lack water – and they want answers.

“Folks are recovering, they’re getting their lives back to normal, but they are deeply frustrated as are millions of Texans across the state,” O’Rourke said.

The former Democratic lawmaker said that what happened in Texas was a “man-made” disaster and “the men who made it are still in power and have yet to be held accountable for it.”

Video:

O’Rourke said:

Tonight I’m in the Rio Grande Valley, and I was in an unincorporated community called Hargill. It’s about a thousand residents there. They lost power for four days. Luckily they have that back on now, but they’re still under a boil water notice, which means they cannot drink what comes out of the tap. So along with other volunteers, we were distributing water there. Folks are recovering, they’re getting their lives back to normal, but they are deeply frustrated as are millions of Texans across the state. We have been to San Antonio, Austin, up to the rural part of north Texas in Rains County where it’s eight days and counting now where some communities still do not have water. And I think everyone understands this is not a natural disaster, it is a man-made one. And the men who made it are still in power and have yet to be held accountable for it, and folks want answers.

Beto O’Rourke is behaving like a U.S. Senator

If one didn’t know any better, they would think that Beto O’Rourke – not Ted Cruz – won the 2018 Senate race in Texas.

After all, O’Rourke has spent the past week criss-crossing Texas at a moment of crisis while Cruz was caught trying to flee the state. Only after being busted did Cruz return for a weekend photo op.

O’Rourke may have come up short in his quest to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, but he is behaving like a U.S. Senator in a way that Ted Cruz never could.

Follow Sean Colarossi on Facebook and Twitter

Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.