All Policymaking stories

House raises max salary for staff to nearly $200,000

Nancy Pelosi walking to the House Floor. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The House of Representatives is raising its maximum annual salary for staff to $199,300, up from $173,900, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The move is intended to help "recruit and retain the outstanding and diverse talent," Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. It's also aimed at ensuring pay parity between House staff and other federal government employees, she added.

Private sector expresses cautious optimism on bipartisan infrastructure bill

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congress is still working through its infrastructure bill, with the ball now in the House's court after the Senate passed its own on Tuesday.

The big picture: Depending on how individual programs are ultimately set up, it could open opportunities for startups.

Schumer: Progressives, centrists "need each other" for two-track balancing act

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Politico that the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party "need each other" in order to have any hopes of passing their spending priorities with the narrowest possible majority.

Why it matters: Democrats have cleared the first hurdle in Schumer's risky "two-track" legislative strategy to enact President Biden's agenda, but just a single objection could derail the entire gambit.

McConnell praises Biden's role in Senate passing infrastructure bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) makes his way to the Senate chamber during the Senate vote-a-rama. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) credited President Biden on Tuesday for his role in getting the Senate to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Why it matters: It's a rare flash of praise from the Republican leader, who has previously said that 100% of his focus is on "stopping" the Biden administration's agenda.

Ted Cruz blocks 4 a.m. attempt to pass Democrats' voting rights package

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blocked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) attempt to pass Democrats' signature voting rights package — a revised version of the "For the People Act" — in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: The sweeping federal elections overhaul is intended to combat a wave of new voting restrictions in Republican-led states, but has no chance of winning the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.

"Long overdue": Biden praises Senate passage of bipartisan infrastructure package

Joe Biden, with Kamala Harris, speaks about the infrastructure bill on Aug. 10. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden praised the Senate's passage of the bipartisan infrastructure package Tuesday, calling it "long overdue, much-needed investments in basic, hard infrastructure."

Why it matters: The legislation's passage is a major victory for the Biden administration and would deliver hundreds of billions of dollars for roads, bridges, waterways and other "hard infrastructure" items.

Congress' half-trillion dollar weapon

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress from both parties are trying to turn the massive federal employee pension fund into a tool for their political ends, using its huge financial sway to support or oppose certain industries.

Why it matters: The half-trillion dollar Thrift Savings Plan is the largest defined-contribution retirement plan in the world. But those charged with overseeing it say politicizing any of its investment decisions risks its overall financial health.

Aug 10, 2021 - Health

Waiting for Biden's drug pricing plan

A nurse administers an IV drug. Photo: Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The Biden administration axed Trump's proposed rule that would have tied some Medicare drug prices to lower overseas prices, but that regulation in its current form had almost no chance of being enacted.

What to watch: Biden's recent executive order mandates HHS to create a "comprehensive plan ... to combat high prescription drug prices and price gouging" by Aug. 23. That plan will give the clearest picture yet of what Biden will try to do to lower drug prices.

Aug 9, 2021 - Health

Washington governor announces vaccine mandate for most state and healthcare workers

Washington state governor Jay Inslee in 2019. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced Monday that the state is instituting a vaccine mandate for most state employees and healthcare workers.

Why it matters: Inslee cited the state's surging COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations as impetus for the new policy.

Aug 9, 2021 - Health

DeSantis threatens salaries of superintendents, school board members who support masking

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida's board of education could withhold pay from superintendents and school board members who mandate face masks in schools, according to a statement from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' office Monday, reports CBS Miami.

Why it matters: Florida is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. Rising cases have triggered fierce debate around masking guidelines in schools.