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Man breaks into AOC’s offices in NYC, sprays cops with fire extinguisher

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An unhinged trespasser broke into the empty Queens campaign offices of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday, and barricaded himself into a closet before cops hauled him out.

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Bipartisan group in House introduces bill to help those with crippling student debt

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Bipartisan group in House introduces bill to help those with crippling student debt

A bipartisan group on Monday introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to help those with crippling student loan debt avoid default.

Sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., the representatives say their legislation will help people avoid such consequences as wage garnishments and a loss of Social Security benefits.

Bonamici and the legislation’s co-sponsors — Reps. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass. — aim to help people who can’t afford full loan payments, have defaulted before, are in danger of default or have disabilities.

“Student loan defaults have damaging consequences for borrowers that can last a significant period of time,” Fitzpatrick said. “An investment in one’s education should not lead to long-term financial distress, and borrowers deserve more efficient access to the tools already at their disposal under the law.”

SCHOOL DISTRICT WARNS: PAY LUNCH BILL OR KIDS MAY GO INTO FOSTER CARE

Automating the process borrowers use to access benefits is the key to preventing defaults, the representatives say, because so many are unaware of the options available to them or fail to register for programs.

The Streamlining Income-driven, Manageable Payments on Loans for Education Act — or The SIMPLE Act — would require the Department of Education to use income and other information from the Treasury Department to verify individuals’ eligibility for these programs so they don’t have to do the paperwork themselves.

As an example, the summary of the bill points out “permanently and totally disabled” borrowers can be released from their student loan payments, but they have to submit paperwork over a three-year period to certify their disability. Otherwise, their loans are reinstated.

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Ninety-eight percent of the 61,000 disabled borrowers who had their loans reinstated in 2015 did so because they didn’t submit the paperwork, the representatives say.

The bill would also automatically register those who have defaulted before or are on their way toward default in income-driven payment plans that allow people to pay back their loans based on their financial ability to do so.

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The lawmakers say those who are in income-driven payment plans are five times less likely to default on their loans than those who aren’t.

Bonamici and Moulton introduced a version of the SIMPLE Act in 2017 with two different sponsors but the bill never made it out of committee.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report. 

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Trump, Congress leaders reach deal on debt limit, spending caps

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Trump, Congress leaders reach deal on debt limit, spending caps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump and U.S. congressional leaders said on Monday they reached a deal on a two-year extension of the debt limit and federal spending caps through Sept. 30, 2021.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he formally kicking off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy,” Trump said on Twitter.

Schumer and Pelosi promptly issued a statement confirming the agreement, saying the measure would be voted on “swiftly” in the House of Representatives. The Senate must also pass the measure before it can be signed into law by Trump.

Under the agreement, which was the result of weeks of closed-door negotiations, the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority would be extended through July 31, 2021.

The pact would also set overall spending levels for the next two years on both defense and non-defense programs operated by the federal government.

Under the deal, spending on these “discretionary” programs would rise to $1.37 trillion in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, up from $1.32 trillion this year, according to a congressional source.

In fiscal 2021, spending would rise at a slower pace, to $1.375 trillion.

Earlier on Monday, a source close to the talks said the deal would include about $75 billion in what is being described as partial “offsets” to higher spending over the next two years.

Even before the agreement was announced, some outside experts were criticizing it.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said it “may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history.”

If enacted into law, she said in a statement, Trump would have increased discretionary spending by as much as 22 percent over the course of his four-year term “and enshrined trillion-dollar deficits into law.”

Those deficits would accelerate a $22.4 trillion U.S. debt that already was growing in part as a result of tax cuts Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress approved in 2017.

Without legislation, Treasury could bump up against its borrowing limit before Sept. 9, according to some recent estimates.

Even with an agreement enacted into law, Congress must pass spending bills to implement it. Lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline – the end of the current fiscal year – to pass those bills or temporarily extend current spending while new legislation is brokered.

Last December, Republican leaders thought they had a deal with Trump on legislation funding government activities for the current fiscal year. At the last minute, he demanded more money so he could build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep immigrants from entering the country illegally.

Democrats objected to border wall funding and the breakdown led to record-long, partial government shutdowns until Trump relented.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; editing by David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky

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Tlaib calls for $20-an-hour minimum wage

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Tlaib calls for $20-an-hour minimum wage

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., called for a federal minimum wage of $20 per hour at an event in Detroit on Sunday night, prompting mockery from conservatives and threatening to force mainline Democrats in the 2020 presidential race to address the issue in upcoming debates.

Tlaib’s comment came during remarks to the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan and the labor rights group One Fair Wage, and were recorded by the conservative political action committee America Rising. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a $15 federal minimum wage bill last week, but it has little chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate.

Tlaib, referring to the federal minimum wage for those workers, said that “tipped employees make $2.13 per hour, federally.”

“Think about that for one minute. People cannot live on those kind of wages, and I can’t allow people to be living off tips, you know, relying on tips for wages. It’s just not enough to support our families. … By the way, when we started it, it should have been $15,” she said at the event, titled “Server for an Hour.”

VIDEO SHOWS TLAIB SHOUTING AT PRESIDENT TRUMP AS SECURITY DRAGS HER AWAY — SOMEONE TELLS HER TO ‘GET A JOB’

“Now I think it should be $20 — make sure America Rising hears that,” she continued, to applause. “It should be $20 an hour — $18 to $20 an hour at this point. … They say all of this is going to raise the cost, but I can tell you, milk has gone up, eggs have gone up, everything has gone up. The cost of a lot of things that we need has gone up already.”

In a 231-199 vote along party lines on Thursday, the House passed legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the current rate of $7.25. In an even more drastic increase, the bill calls for having the same minimum wage for tipped workers, raising it from $2.13 an hour.

Tlaib’s office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment, but her remarks were derided by conservative commentators.

“Why not $20?” asked Town Hall Editor and Fox News contributor Guy Benson. “Or $50? Go, Rashida, Go!”

“They should make it $1,000 an hour and cure income inequality inside of a month, obviously,” joked Ben Shapiro. “These radical Democratic policy proposals are the political equivalent of the pitch for the Fyre Festival.”

Democrat presidential contenders are set to debate again on July 30 and 31, and could be asked about Tlaib’s now-viral proposal. The party’s embrace of once-radical proposals — including Medicare-for-all, health care for illegal immigrants, and decriminalization of border crossings — has alienated moderates, some analysts contend.

Tlaib, a member of the progressive freshman “squad” on Capitol Hill, has attracted an outsize share of attention in recent days. Over the weekend, video resurfaced showing Tlaib calling out to President Trump as security removed her from a meeting at the Detroit Economic Club in August 2016.

But her minimum wage proposal has her farther afield on the issue than virtually all other prominent Democrats. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently concluded that a $15 federal minimum wage could result in 3.7 million people becoming unemployed — far higher than House Democrats’ estimates — as employers struggle to make payroll and respond by slashing jobs and hours.

The CBO noted the “considerable uncertainty” in calculating the impact of the minimum wage from state to state, and indicated that up to 17 million Americans could see pay increases.

Republican leaders have said a minimum wage hike would be “devastating” for middle-class families, citing CBO research finding that it would also reduce business income, raise consumer prices and reduce the nation’s output. Overall, the CBO said the move would reduce real family income by about $9 billion in 2025 — or 0.1 percent.

SANDERS SAYS HE HAS TO CUT WORKERS’ HOURS TO MEET $15-PER-HOUR PROMISE

The minimum wage fight has spilled over into the Democrat presidential race in recent days. Over the weekend, Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced he will cut staffers’ hours so that they can effectively be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage, prompting mockery from critics who said the move is more evidence that Sanders’ plan to raise the national minimum wage is hypocritical and would only lead to less work and more unemployment.

Alfredo Ortiz, president of the Job Creators Network, told The Washington Free Beacon that “America can’t afford a $15 minimum wage, never mind $20.”

Ortiz also connected Tlaib’s remarks to the strife rocking Sanders’ campaign.

“It’s a shame Representative Tlaib didn’t hear that Bernie Sanders is cutting his staff’s hours to meet their demands for a $15 minimum wage,” Ortiz told the paper. “If she won’t listen to job creators about the unintended consequences of a higher minimum wage, maybe she’ll listen to a socialist politician.”

The Washington Post first reported last Thursday that Sanders’ field staffers were upset that Sanders had championed a $15 minimum wage on the campaign trail, and made headlines for railing against major corporations who pay “starvation wages” — even as his own employees made “poverty wages.”

In response, Sanders told The Des Moines Register he was “very proud” to lead the first major presidential campaign with unionized workers, but also “bothered” that news of the internal strife had spilled into the media.

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The self-described socialist candidate said junior field organizers earn roughly $36,000 per year in salary, with employer-paid health care and sick leave. But he acknowledged that their salary can effectively dip below $15 per hour if staffers work much more than 40 hours per week, which is common on presidential campaigns.

The solution is to “limit the number of hours staffers work to 42 or 43 each week to ensure they’re making the equivalent of $15 an hour,” he told the Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

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