Gregory Korte: To Get Around Congress, Obama Turns To City Halls
President Obama has quietly racked up a series of legislative victories during the past few months as lawmakers have enthusiastically embraced his calls for a higher minimum wage, paid sick leave and universal pre-kindergarten. Instead of Capitol Hill, those victories happened in city halls, state houses and county buildings far from Washington. At least six major cities — Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tacoma, Wash., and Washington, D.C. — have passed paid sick leave laws in the four months since Obama called for state and local action in this year’s State of the Union Address. Since the 2013 address when Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage, 17 states and six major cities have taken action, including Los Angeles last week.
Obama’s state-and-local strategy may be unprecedented in its scope and ambition. Though previous administrations have appointed top advisers to listen to concerns of state and local officials, the Obama White House appears to be the first to aggressively use those same channels to encourage them to adopt Obama’s policies. The strategy has been more effective on some policies than others. Since last September, more than 200 mayors have signed on to the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, a commitment to help boys and young men of color. The state-and-local strategy effort has been particularly effective on paid leave policies, which Obama championed in his State of the Union Address this year. “Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave — 43 million. Think about that,” Obama said. “So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own.” That pledge came with a $1 million budget from the Department of Labor to help fund feasibility studies for state and local governments, which will begin to be awarded this summer.
BWD (@theonlyadult) May 26, 2015
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