The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief

The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. David H. Bradley. June 2, 2017

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enacted in 1938, is the federal legislation that establishes the minimum hourly wage that must be paid to all covered workers. The minimum wage provisions of the FLSA have been amended numerous times since 1938, typically for the purpose of expanding coverage or raising the wage rate. Since its establishment, the minimum wage rate has been raised 22 separate times. The most recent change was enacted in 2007 (P.L. 110-28), which increased the minimum wage to its current level of $7.25 per hour.

In addition to setting the federal minimum wage rate, the FLSA provides for several exemptions and subminimum wage categories for certain classes of workers and types of work. Even with these exemptions, the FLSA minimum wage provisions still cover the vast majority of the workforce. Despite this broad coverage, however, the minimum wage directly affects a relatively small portion of the workforce. Currently, there are approximately 2.2 million workers, or 2.7% of all hourly paid workers, whose wages are at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Most minimum wage workers are female, are age 20 or older, work part time, and are in food service occupations.

Proponents of increasing the federal minimum wage argue that it may increase earnings for lower income workers, lead to reduced turnover, and increase aggregate demand by providing greater purchasing power for workers receiving a pay increase. Opponents of increasing the federal minimum wage argue that it may result in reduced employment or reduced hours, lead to a general price increase, and reduce profits of firms paying a higher minimum wage.

[PDF format, 11 pages, 590.45 KB].

From Compliance to Learning: Helping Community Development Financial Institutions Better Determine and Demonstrate Their Results

From Compliance to Learning: Helping Community Development Financial Institutions Better Determine and Demonstrate Their Results. Urban Institute. Brett Theodos, Ellen Seidman. May 11, 2017

Long used to tracking outputs (e.g., charter school seats financed, small businesses capitalized, affordable housing units funded) community development financial institutions (CDFIs) face increasing demands to document the outcomes, or results, of their investments. CDFIs, a mix of nondepository and depository financial institutions, are embracing measurement for more than compliance and funder reporting and are using measurement as part of a learning agenda. But this work is challenging, requiring new investments, partnerships, and measurement strategies. This brief outlines recommendations to CDFIs to best measure their activities’ effectiveness and build a more robust internal measurement and learning function. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 13 pages, 202.32 KB].

Staying Power: Considering the U.S. Government’s Global Nutrition Coordination Plan

Staying Power: Considering the U.S. Government’s Global Nutrition Coordination Plan. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Kimberly Flowers, Carol Conragan. May 17, 2017

This report explores the implications of the U.S. Global Nutrition Coordination Plan (GNCP) for the technical leadership, focus, resource stewardship, partnership strategy, and data/funding transparency of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). How can USAID contribute to the stated goal of developing “a process to gather and report interagency information on annual U.S. government nutrition resource expenditures”? And who is ultimately accountable for the actions dictated by the GNCP?

The GNCP is an impressive volunteer effort, but it is too soon to tell whether it will become a worthwhile, whole-of-government practice. Positive aspects of the plan include good timing with growing U.S. government backing for global nutrition programs and bipartisan support on Capitol Hill; a lauded, whole-of-government approach; a seat at the nutrition table for smaller agencies; a strong community of practice through complementarity of expertise and jointly shared administrative actions; increased global nutrition program support through designated points of contact at U.S. posts abroad; and built-in flexibility to expand (or contract) the plan’s mandate as global priorities evolve. This report makes recommendations in both technical and management domains to buttress GNCP’s ultimate success, which has become increasingly critical in the context of dwindling resources for development assistance. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 44 pages, 1.86 MB].

The Federal-State Higher Education Partnership: Lessons from Other Federal-State Partnerships

The Federal-State Higher Education Partnership: Lessons from Other Federal-State Partnerships. Urban Institute. Kristin D. Conklin, Sandy Baum. May 16, 2017

Lessons from federal-state partnerships in other public policy areas might inform efforts to strengthen the partnership in higher education. This paper looks to the forms of cooperation between these levels of government in transportation, housing, and elementary through secondary education as examples. The federal role should have clearly defined goals, including strengthening the social norm of equitable access to high quality postsecondary education. Preserving flexibility for the states is a critical component of effective federal policy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 25 pages, 292.37 KB].

Staffing Federal Agencies: Lessons from 1981-2016

Staffing Federal Agencies: Lessons from 1981-2016. Brookings Institution. Anne Joseph O’Connell. April 17, 2017

Agency leaders make critical decisions in our modern bureaucracy. Top officials issue significant binding regulations and influential guidance documents. They make the final calls in major adjudications among private parties (including between employers and workers as well as between competing corporations). Officials regulate the rates for mail, natural gas distribution, and other key items. Some run embassies or independent investigations, while others keep the books. In the last administration, agency officials, not the White House, released regulations on open internet access and carbon pollution, deferred deportation for many individuals without documentation whose parents had brought them to this country as children, and launched investigations connected to each major presidential candidate. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Federal Funding And Issues

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Federal Funding And Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Glenn J. McLoughlin, Lena A. Gomez. April 4, 2017

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) receives its funding through federal appropriations; overall, about 15% of public television and 10% of radio broadcasting funding comes from the federal appropriations that CPB distributes. CPB’s appropriation is allocated through a distribution formula established in its authorizing legislation and has historically received two-year advanced appropriations. Congressional policymakers are increasingly interested in the federal role in supporting CPB due to concerns over the federal debt, the role of the federal government funding for public radio and television, and whether public broadcasting provides a balanced and nuanced approach to covering news of national interest.

It is also important to note that many congressional policymakers defend the federal role of funding public broadcasting. They contend that it provides news and information to large segments of the population that seek to understand complex policy issues in depth, and in particular for children’s television broadcasting, has a significant and positive impact on early learning and education for children.

[PDF format, 12 pages, 791.41 KB].

From College to Cabinet: Women in National Security

From College to Cabinet: Women in National Security. Center for a New American Security. Katherine Kidder et al. April 05, 2017

Throughout history, the talent pool of women has been underutilized in the national security sector. Trends over the past 40 years—since the first classes of women were accepted to the nation’s military academies—show an increase in the representation of women in the military and throughout national security departments and agencies, including in the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and, more recently, the Department of Homeland Security—but not necessarily at the top. In the post-9/11 world, women have made up a larger and more visible portion of the national security establishment, yet they remain in the minority of leadership positions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 30 pages, 583.09 KB].