Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Washington, D.C. - January 23, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) joined 180 Democrats in unveiling the Raise the Wage Act of 2019. The bill would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, index future minimum wage increases to median wage growth, and ensure all workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by phasing out the subminimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities.

“American workers are overdue for a raise,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 nationwide will be good for workers, good for businesses, and good for the economy. I am proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues to support this proposal that would put money in the pockets of 40 million hardworking Americans and support local economies and the economic growth of our nation.”

Currently, there is no place in America where a full-time worker can make the $7.25 federal minimum wage and afford the basic essentials. The federal minimum wage has not been raised in nearly a decade. This year, the minimum wage in New York City increased to $15 for businesses with more than 10 employees.

According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 58% of Americans support increasing the minimum wage to $15.

The Raise the Wage Act would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next six years to lift millions of workers out of poverty, stimulate local economies, and restore the value of minimum wage; index future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage growth to ensure the value of minimum wage does not once again erode over time; and, guarantee tipped workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by repealing the subminimum wage for tipped workers, which will ensure consistent, livable pay.

Additionally, the bill would guarantee teen workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage by repealing the rarely used subminimum wage for youth workers; and, end subminimum wage certificates for individuals with disabilities to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be competitively employed, taxpaying citizens and participate more fully in their communities.


To read the bill text of the Raise the Wage Act, click here.

To read the section-by-section of the Raise the Wage Act, click here.

To read a fact sheet on Raise the Wage Act, click here.


Washington, D.C. - January 23, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Michael McCaul, the Committee’s Ranking Member welcomed unanimous passage in the House of Representatives of legislation to impose new sanctions on Syria’s Assad regime and its supporters and encourage negotiations to end the nearly eight-year old crisis. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act is named for the former Syrian military photographer known as “Caesar” who documented Assad’s horrific brutality.

“The world has failed the Syrian people. Nothing can undo the horrors they have had to endure for nearly eight years. Nothing can bring back those who have been lost. But the world owes it to the living and the dead to try to bring this crisis to an end. And the role America must play is to push for a political solution that allows the Syrian people to choose their own future. That’s what American leadership looks like. That’s what sets us apart from other great powers on the world stage. We simply cannot look the other way and allow Assad, Russia, and Iran to steamroll over Syria,” said Chairman Engel on the House floor. “My bill would give the Administration greater leverage to raise the cost for Assad and crack down on his lifelines.”

Ranking Member McCaul said, “For seven years, the brutal Assad regime has carried out a merciless campaign of violence and murder with impunity. In order to secure lasting peace in the region, we need a strategy that moves beyond Assad’s debilitating stronghold to encourage negotiations and pursue a political solution to end this conflict. This legislation provides the Administration much-needed leverage to impose sanctions against Assad and his backers, punish war criminals, and cut off funding that fuels the regime’s war tactics. We must act immediately to hold Assad and his supporters accountable to deter this perpetual cycle of brutality against the innocent people of Syria. I look forward getting this vital legislation over to the White House.”

The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2019 is named in honor of the former Syrian military photographer “Caesar” who risked his life to show members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Assad’s torture of Syrian civilians. This bill would impose new sanctions on human rights abuses, encourage negotiations, and authorize the State Department to support entities that are collecting and preserving the chain of evidence for eventual prosecution of those committing war crimes or crimes against humanity in Syria. This legislation also leaves flexibility for the Administration so that sanctions can be waived on a case-by-case basis to keep negotiations moving along.

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act would require the President to impose new sanctions on anyone who

  • Does business with or provides financing to the Government of Syria, including Syrian intelligence and security services, or the Central Bank of Syria;
  • Provides aircraft or spare parts for aircraft to Syria’s airlines (including financing);
  • Is involved with construction and engineering projects controlled by the Syrian government; or
  • Supports Syria’s energy industry.

  • The bill includes provisions to ensure that non-governmental organizations providing assistance to Syria are not inadvertently caught by sanctions, except in the case of a designated terrorist.

    Under the bill, the President could waive sanctions on a case-by-case basis. Also, sanctions could be suspended if the parties are engaged in meaningful negotiations and the violence against civilians has ceased. Suspension would be renewable if the suspension is critical to the continuation of negotiations and attacks against civilians have not resumed.

    Diaz-Balart: Democratic Leadership Rejects Another Bipartisan Solution to End Shutdown

    Washington, D.C. - January 23, 2019 - (The Ponder News) -- Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after he testified before the House Rules Committee on his amendment that includes $5.7 billion in border security, the most recent version of the DREAM bill presented by House Democrats, a permanent solution for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries with status nearing expiration, and $12.7 billion in supplemental disaster relief.

    “At the Rules Committee this evening, I presented a commonsense solution to end this government shutdown. The amendment I proposed includes funding for border security, provides permanent relief for DREAMers and TPS recipients, and delivers critical dollars to communities impacted by natural disasters. This shutdown is unnecessary and is hurting the thousands of federal employees furloughed and the countless American families who depend on federal programs. I am exceedingly disappointed Democratic leadership has yet again rejected an amendment which would garner bipartisan support and will not have the opportunity to be debated on the House floor. My amendment not only gets us closer to reopening our government, but also protects our national security, addresses vulnerable immigrant communities who seek legal status, and helps those who are rebuilding after Hurricane Michael. Once again, I urge Democratic leadership to consider a real solution to ending the shutdown, whether it be one of my proposals or that of another Member of Congress, that will have a fair chance at Senate consideration and becoming law.”

    Earlier this month, Diaz-Balart presented four similar amendments that addressed DREAMers, TPS, and border security and would have opened the government. Democratic leadership also rejected those amendments.