Fresh off re-election, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján is seeking a position in U.S. House leadership. The day after Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Luján announced he now wants to become Assistant Democratic Leader, the fourth-highest position in Democratic leadership. For the last two election cycles, Luján was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps elect Democrats to the U.S. House. Currently the New York Times reports Democrats won 27 House seats, for 22 total seats, with 17 races, including one in southern New Mexico, undecided. With the majority, Democrats will elect a Speaker of the House, opening up another leadership position.
While he initially supported Florida Congressman Daniel Webster, Steve Pearce ultimately voted for Paul Ryan for Speaker of the House on Thursday. Ryan won the position, replacing John Boehner, who announced last month that he would be leaving Congress and relinquish the position as Speaker of the House. Pearce explained his vote in a statement on Thursday afternoon. “As I’ve said often, every American deserves a government that is effective, efficient and accountable,” Pearce said. “Today’s election marks a transition.
As a fitting final act by John Boehner as Speaker of the House, he passed a budget deal that will avoid a default until after the next elections—but the votes of Democratic members in favor outnumbered the votes of Republicans. When it comes to New Mexico, the lone Republican, Steve Pearce, joined a majority of Republicans in voting against the deal. Pearce slammed the bill for how it was crafted, calling it a “backroom budget” in a statement. “Not only does this bill fail to make the hard choices, it raises the debt ceiling and changes spending priorities without so much as a single amendment,” Pearce said. “The resulting bill will hurt New Mexican farmers and ranchers, seniors on fixed incomes, and our state’s economy.”
Congressional Democrats, including all four Democrats in the New Mexico delegation, are pushing for a $12 minimum wage. With both the House and Senate controlled by Republicans, it is very unlikely that a minimum wage increase would pass during the current Congress. However, the push could be an attempt to bring the wedge issue up in time for the 2016 elections. In addition to increasing the minimum wage to $12 by 2020, the legislation would index the minimum wage to inflation. Senators Udall and Heinrich are among the co-sponsors of the Senate version of the legislation, introduced by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.