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Vox Sentences: The fight for $15 in Congress

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The House votes to raise the minimum wage for the first time in a decade; Pompeo calls out China’s detainment of Muslims as a “stain of the century.”

A step toward a $15 minimum wage

Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
  • The House passed a bill on Thursday that would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. [CNBC / Jacob Pramuk]
  • The Raise the Wage Act was Democrats’ centerpiece agenda when they claimed the House; the same cannot be said for Republicans, who branded the bill a “job killer.” The vote passed along party lines, 231-199, with only three Republicans voting for the bill and six Democrats opposing it. [AP / Lisa Mascaro]
  • The raise could help millions of workers who haven’t seen a raise in their minimum wage in more than a decade — the longest stretch in history. [CNN / Katie Lobosco, Ashley Killough, Clare Foran, and Haley Byrd]
  • The Congressional Budget Office warns that the raise could come at a cost: It could trigger 1.3 million job losses for low-paid workers. Recent academic studies, however, show that this hasn’t been the case in cities that have already raised their minimum wage. [Vox / Alexia Fernández Campbell]
  • The victory shows how far the “Fight for $15” movement has come since it was started by fast-food workers in New York in 2012. A $15 minimum wage, an amount that once raised eyebrows, is now a measure that 60 percent of US adults support. [Washington Post / Erica Werner and Mike DeBonis]
  • Let’s be clear here: There is little to no chance the GOP-controlled Senate will pass the bill, especially when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already vowed not to take it up. [Reuters / Nandita Bose]
  • But it does serve as a preview of what could happen if Democrats seize the Senate and the White House in 2020. [NYT / Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jeanna Smialek]

Mike Pompeo calls out China for detaining Muslims

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized China’s detainment of Muslims as a human rights “stain of the century.” [AP / Matthew Lee]
  • The State Department held the “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom,” a conference that promotes religious freedom, this week. During the conference, Pompeo said Muslims in China were being abused because of their faith. [South China Morning Post]
  • China has been accused of holding an estimated 1 million Muslims in internment camps in the Xinjiang region, where Uighur Muslims make up about 40 percent of the population. China vehemently denies these claims, saying they’re being placed in “vocational training centers” to curb religious extremism that could lead to terrorism. [CNS News / Patrick Goodenough]
  • Pompeo also accused China of discouraging other countries from attending the religious freedom conference. [Time / Amy Gunia]
  • The US isn’t the only one condemning China for its detainment of Muslims: 22 countries signed a joint letter to the UN to urge the country to release the detainees. In response, 37 countries, including North Korea, Suadi Arabia, and Myanmar, signed an open letter praising Beijing. [CNN / Joshua Berlinger]
  • Many have also criticized the US as being all talk, no action. While the Trump administration has considered imposing sanctions on China over Xianjing — a group of Democrats and Republicans even sent a letter asking for economic penalties — it’s held back in fear of retaliation and endangering trade talks. [Reuters / Alexandra Alper]


  • Chlorpyrifos is a widely used pesticide that can cause severe health issues for children. The EPA has disregarded calls to ban it. [NYT / Lisa Friedman]
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized President Trump for his racist tweets about four US congresswomen and said she stood in “solidarity” with them. [CNN / Bianca Britton, Frederik Pleitgen, and Claudia Otto]
  • Berkely, California, passed an ordinance requiring gender-neutral language in its city code. For example, the city will substitute “firefighter” for “fireman” or “firewoman.” [NBC News / Ben Kesslen]
  • Paper straws are for liberals, according to Trump’s campaign, which is selling a pack of 10 Trump plastic straws for $15. (The campaign claims they’re recyclable.) [Business Insider / David Choi]
  • India’s attempt to launch a spacecraft to land on the moon failed earlier this week, but it’s on track to try again next Monday. If successful, it would be India’s first moon landing (making it only the fourth country to achieve the feat). [BBC]


“Today we wake up for a day of jubilation because of the sense of fairness this legislation engenders. We wake up with a smile on our face, showing the world with all the love in our hearts, and that love in our hearts is about fairness for the American people.” [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the minimum wage bill before its vote]

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