Pearce kicked off GOP whip team

Rep. Steve Pearce was kicked off the whip team of the Republican caucus following votes on rules for a trade proposal last week. Pearce, the lone Republican member of New Mexico’s delegation, voted against rules that House leadership pushed and he so he was punished by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. The National Journal reported on Pearce’s removal form the team:
Reps. Cynthia Lummis, Steve Pearce and Trent Franks have been removed from the whip team after they sided with GOP rebels to vote against a rule governing debate on a trade bill, according to sources close to the team. Lummis, a deputy whip and a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was perhaps the whip team’s highest-ranking bridge to the conference’s most intransigent members.

Dems in Congress pushing for $12 per hour minimum wage

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.

Heinrich will not attend Netanyahu speech

Senator Martin Heinrich will not attend an address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his office told New Mexico Political Report on Friday afternoon. Heinrich said he will watch the speech about Iran in his office but that he will not attend the speech because he views it as Netanyahu “using the floor of the United States Congress as a stage for his election campaign.” Here is the full statement from Heinrich provided to New Mexico Political Report:I am always happy to listen to what Prime Minister Netanyahu has to say. I intend to watch his speech about Iran from my office, but I have strong objections to using the floor of the United States Congress as a stage for his election campaign–or anyone’s for that matter. The U.S.-Israeli alliance is too important to be politically exploited just days before Israeli voters go to the polls.Many view the speech as a way to bolster Netanyahu’s upcoming reelection bid.

Most of delegation plans on attending Netanyahu speech

At least three of the members of the New Mexico congressional delegation plan on attending a speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3. A spokeswoman for Sen. Martin Heinrich told New Mexico Political Report that he has not decided whether to attend but “he has concerns.” The office of Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not provide an answer, though this post will be updated when an answer is provided. Several members of Congress, all Democrats, have announced that they will not attend Netanyahu’s address to the joint session of Congress. The dispute comes over the fact that Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the White House.