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Will increasing minimum wage cost significant job loss?
April 30th, 2014
04:18 PM ET

Will increasing minimum wage cost significant job loss?

(CNN) - Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a top legislative and political priority of Democrats, a bill to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

The measure failed to gain enough support in a procedural vote to open debate.

In framing the issue ahead of November's midterm elections, Democrats have portrayed the GOP as insensitive to the needs of low-wage workers.

Polls show a strong majority of Americans surveyed back raising the minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25.

Even if the Senate had moved ahead with the legislation, there was little chance the House, which is led by Republicans, would have taken it up.

Still, Democrats are vowing to return to the issue, which would boost the wage over time.

"This is an uphill fight, but it isn't over yet," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the vote.

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We want you to weigh in: Do you think an increase in the minimum wage would cause significant job loss?

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Filed under: Fireback • Minimum wage
April 29th, 2014
10:49 AM ET

Reloaded: Van Jones says Republicans right on prisons

Van Jones explains how the United States has 25% of the world's prisoners yet we make up only 5% of the population.

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Filed under: Reloaded • Van Jones
Should Michael Grimm step down?
April 28th, 2014
04:31 PM ET

Should Michael Grimm step down?

(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm failed to report more than $1 million in sales and wages at a Manhattan restaurant he once ran, using unreported cash to pay workers "off the books" to "evade taxes and keep more money for himself," a federal prosecutor said.

Grimm, R-New York, pleaded not guilty on Monday in federal court in Brooklyn to 20 counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud, filing false tax returns, hiring unauthorized aliens and perjury.

A former FBI agent who used to investigate fraud, Grimm wore a dark suit and was not handcuffed during the hearing.

He was released on $400,000 bond, secured by his home in Staten Island. As conditions for his release, Grimm, 44, must surrender his guns and passport.

He told reporters that he would remain in office while fighting the charges. He's up for re-election in November.

"I'm going to fight tooth and nail ... until I am fully exonerated," Grimm said.

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We want you to weigh in: Do you think Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) should step down from office?

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Filed under: Fireback • Michael Grimm • Political scandal • Politics
Should the U.S. military go into Ukraine?
April 25th, 2014
04:49 PM ET

Should the U.S. military go into Ukraine?

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama threatened Russia on Friday with new sanctions over its actions in Ukraine as the Ukrainian Prime Minister also came out with tough words against Moscow.

Russian attempts to start conflict in Ukraine will lead to military conflict in Europe, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned.

He also charged Russia with aiming to occupy his country "militarily and politically," and said Moscow wants to start a third world war.

His strong statement came amid a sharp escalation in tensions.

Russia's defense chief ordered new military drills Thursday near the border with eastern Ukraine after Ukrainian forces said they killed five pro-Russian militants in an operation to clear roadblocks near the city of Slavyansk.

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Filed under: Fireback • Foreign policy • Ukraine
Bundy's racist remarks cause a stir in Washington
April 24th, 2014
02:56 PM ET

Bundy's racist remarks cause a stir in Washington

(CNN) – What started out as a standoff over land rights may be turning into a controversy over race.

Racist comments from Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy – who earlier this month appeared to win a highly publicized standoff against federal authorities over his two-decade long illegal grazing of cattle on public land – are giving Democrats a new weapon to attack some top Republicans who earlier came to Bundy's defense.

And the controversial comments also call into question moves by Fox News and some conservative media that highlighted the story and painted Bundy as a hero in his battle against federal authorities.

Bundy, 67, won his standoff against federal rangers after armed militiamen came to his side. Even with the incident over, Bundy continued to talk to a dwindling crowd of media from his ranch, about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The comments that sparked the latest controversy came this weekend when Bundy recalled to supporters about a time he drove by a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, according to a report from The New York Times.

"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," Bundy said, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids – and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch – they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do.

"And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?" Bundy continued. "They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom."

Thursday morning, hours after The New York Times story went viral, the Nevada Democratic Party put out a statement saying "These comments are reprehensible, and every Republican politician in the state of Nevada who tried to latch on to Cliven Bundy's newfound celebrity with TEA Partiers and the militia movement should be ashamed of their actions."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that "Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist. But by denigrating people who work hard and play by the rules while he mooches off public land he also revealed himself to be a hypocrite."

FULL STORY

We want you to weigh in: Harry Reid called supporters of Rancher Cliven Bundy “domestic terrorists.” Do you agree?

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Filed under: Cliven Bundy • Fireback • Harry Reid • Race
Second amendment rights or reckless?
April 23rd, 2014
05:02 PM ET

Second amendment rights or reckless?

Ellijay, Georgia (CNN) - Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law Wednesday that has critics howling and proponents applauding.

House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 - which opponents have nicknamed the "guns everywhere bill" - specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.

GeorgiaCarry, which lobbied for the bill, calls it "meaningful pro-gun legislation," despite it being watered down from the group's perspective. Still, the group has lauded the legislation, which will go into effect July 1. Americans for Responsible Solutions opposed the bill, calling it "extremism in action."

FULL STORY

We want you to weigh in: Georgia Gov. signs law allowing residents to carry guns in some school zones & parts of airports. Agree?
Vote by tweeting Yes or No using #Crossfire or by commenting on our Facebook post. View results below or through our Poptip results page.

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Filed under: Debates • Fireback • Guns
Affirmative action in college admissions?
April 22nd, 2014
04:29 PM ET

Affirmative action in college admissions?

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a Michigan law banning the use of racial criteria in college admissions, a key decision in an unfolding legal and political battle nationally over affirmative action.

The justices found 6-2 that a lower court did not have the authority to set aside the measure approved in a 2006 referendum supported by 58% of voters.

It bars publicly funded colleges from granting "preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court's first Latina, reacted sharply to the decision.

"For members of historically marginalized groups, which rely on the federal courts to protect their constitutional rights, the decision can hardly bolster hope for a vision of democracy that preserves for all the right to participate meaningfully and equally in self-government," Sotomayor wrote.

But three justices in the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito. concluded that the lower court did not have the authority to set aside the law.

"This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it," Kennedy wrote.

FULL STORY

We want you to weigh in: The Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action for college admissions; do you agree or disagree?

Vote by tweeting Agree or Disagree using #Crossfire or by commenting on our Facebook post. View results below or through our Poptip results page.

April 22nd, 2014
10:31 AM ET

Reloaded: It's OK to be cool with gay people

Legal in 17 states: Where do you stand? S.E. Cupp discusses the fast moving issue of federal protections for gay rights.

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Filed under: Gay rights • Reloaded • S.E. Cupp
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