Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson's proposed "Make Affordable Housing Work Act" would raise annual rents for low-income households in America's 100 largest metro areas by roughly 20 percent, affecting about 4 million households and 8.3 million people, more than 3 million of them children, The Associated Press reports, citing an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Carson unveiled the plan in late April, and he recently told Fox News that the proposal is "our attempt to give poor people a way out of poverty," on the theory that charging more for rent will encourage people in low-income housing to find work.
But many people in public housing already work at least one job. In most cities, housing costs are rising much faster than wages, and for many families, the alternative to public housing isn't a job but homelessness. "There's no evidence that raising rents causes people to work more," said Will Fischer, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "For most of these rent increases, I don't think there's even a plausible theory for why they would encourage work."
The proposal, which requires congressional approval, would require low-income tenants to pay 35 percent of income in rent instead of 30 percent, triple the minimum rent to $150, and eliminate deductions for medical care, child care, and children in the home. An estimated 314,000 households would no longer be considered elderly or disabled, making them eligible for the sharp rent increases, too. You can read more at The Associated Press. Peter Weber
The government didn't really lose 1,500 migrant children after they left federal custody.
It may be four times that.
McClatchy reviewed U.S. government data and found that during the Trump presidency, the government appears to have lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors. The widely reported smaller number referred only to a three-month span last fall.
Yet contrary to assumptions that sparked outrage last month, an untraceable child could be better off. The Office of Refugee Resettlement couldn't get ahold of 1,475 resettled immigrant children 30 days after their release after placing a single phone call, per policy. But those families often have a good reason for not picking up, New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer Paige Austin told WNYC's On the Media last month: Families may wish to cut ties with the government in an effort to protect other undocumented immigrants they may be living with. Ninety percent of resettled children end up with a family member, per ORR data, and those people may or may not have legal status.
The number of actually lost children gets trickier to solidify, seeing as some families did answer and confirmed a child was gone, McClatchy says. And the numbers are only from 2017. Things could fluctuate further now that children and parents are being separated at the border, leaving more children unaccompanied and more immigrants afraid of authorities. Read more at McClatchy. Kathryn Krawczyk
Lawmakers will likely clash over how to handle the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy that separates immigrant families at the border, debating two immigration bills that contain other contingencies, Politico reported Tuesday.
President Trump will meet with GOP leaders to offer his input on two bills. The more conservative bill written by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) would require the Department of Homeland Security to house detained immigrant families together, but the White House said it would be "tough" to get it through the House. A second, more moderate compromise bill that would give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients a path to citizenship while putting $25 billion toward border security and the border wall is also under consideration.
Congressional Democrats unanimously supported a bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday that sought to outlaw nearly every case of family separations. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he wasn't interested in a GOP-led bill that would keep families together while detained, telling reporters that he wants to keep the onus on President Trump to end the controversial separations. "There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense," said Schumer. "Unacceptable additions have bogged down every piece of legislation we've done." Republicans have also called for Trump to take executive action to speed things along.
The multiple competing bills, including another introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), all include different provisions that offer varying compromises to end the policy that separates families. Sources told Politico that despite the president's mild support for some aspects of each bill, it's unclear exactly how he will choose to move forward, further fracturing the Republican Party as they seek to unite for quick-acting legislation. Read more at Politico. Summer Meza
It's bear season once more at Alaska's Katmai National Park, and the 24-hour cameras are back up and running in multiple locations. For those who are uninitiated to the most riveting thing you'll watch all summer, the park's cameras give viewers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the state's majestic brown bears — from the comfort of your safe, fortified, bear-proof home, of course.
While there are several locations to choose from, Brooks Falls is always a good bet for spotting bears in the river feasting on salmon that are swimming upstream to spawn:
There is also an underwater bear cam, which has the potential to give you a dramatic close-up of some ursine choppers. Watch that one below. Jeva Lange
Modern Family showrunner Steve Levitan is leaving Fox Studio in response to Fox News' coverage of the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant parents from their children at the border, CNN reports.
Levitan expressed his anger with Fox News late Monday night, responding to Laura Ingraham calling the child detention centers "essentially summer camps." "Let me officially join Seth MacFarlane in saying I'm disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with Fox News," tweeted Levitan. "This bulls--t is the opposite of what #ModernFamily stands for." He added in a subsequent tweet: "I have no problem with fact-based conservatism (such as [The Wall Street Journal]), but [Fox News'] 23-hour-a-day support of the NRA, conspiracy theories, and Trump's lies gets harder to swallow every day as I drive onto that lot to make a show about inclusion."
Levitan's remarks followed calls by Judd Apatow and Seth MacFarlane to speak out against the company. "I haven't worked with Fox since 2002," Apatow had tweeted. "That family promotes evil ideas and greed and corruption. We all choose who to work with. I understand why that is easier for some than others but many powerful people are powerful enough to speak up to their bosses at a moment like this." Jeva Lange
So, you wanna be startin' a musical? Just look to Michael Jackson for inspiration.
A biographical musical about the pop legend, developed by Jackson's estate and production company Columbia Live Stage, is set to hit Broadway in 2020, Playbill reports. The show will feature Jackson's own songs to tell the story of his life.
This may be a P.Y.M. (Pretty Young Musical), but Lynn Nottage, the double-Pulitzer-winning playwright for Ruined and Sweat, is already slated to write it. Christopher Wheeldon, a Tony winner for choreographing An American in Paris, will choreograph and direct, per Variety.
The unnamed show moonwalks in the footsteps of jukebox musicals like Jersey Boys and Beautiful:The Carole King Musical, where musicians' songs describe their careers. And they all relay one piece of advice: Don't stop 'til you get a musical. Kathryn Krawczyk
Fewer Americans are smoking than ever before, Time reported Tuesday. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics put the number of adult smokers in the year 2017 at about 14 percent of the population, over 30 million people nationwide. The figure was around 16 percent in 2016, and 20 percent back in 2007.
This trend points to "a general decline" in the smoking population, NBC News reported. "Everything is pointed in the right direction," said Dr. K. Michael Cummings, an addiction researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, who also noted that sales of cigarettes have fallen in recent years.
But additional data shows that electronic cigarettes may account for some of the declining figures, Time explained. Recent data shows that about 3 percent of U.S. adults used e-cigarettes in 2016. Although e-cigarettes don't contain the same harmful byproducts as cigarettes, the long-term effects of vaping aren't well-known.
DHS agencies received hundreds of civil rights abuse complaints that they didn't even bother to investigate
The Department of Homeland Security received hundreds of complaints about civil rights violations last year that it did not investigate, Motherboard reported Tuesday.
Official records show that there were thousands of reports of detainees, prisoners, and suspects who suffered civil rights abuses in 2017, but because of "limited investigative resources," several hundred were left untouched. The complaints across all DHS agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Coast Guard, alleged sexual and physical abuse as well as discrimination and general mistreatment.
"The number of complaints that apparently went uninvestigated is quite surprising and it demands a closer look," Steven Aftergood from the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists told Motherboard.
The DHS's watchdog office marked hundreds of cases as "closed not converted," which means that they were not fully investigated before being considered a closed case. In other cases, allegations against DHS employees were called "unsubstantiated." A DHS representative told Motherboard that the agency focuses much of its investigative efforts on cases that allege "corruption or criminal misconduct on the part of DHS employees or contractors, misconduct by high-level DHS employees, [or] use of force by DHS law enforcement officers," so it is "unable to investigate" many of the civil rights-related cases. Read more at Motherboard. Summer Meza