Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert is an independent journalist writing about the economy. She is a contributing op-ed writer at The New York Times and a contributing writer at The Nation. Her writing has appeared in Time magazine, The Washington PostNew York magazine, The New RepublicSlate, and others.

Recent Articles

Connecticut and Oregon Make Paid Family Leave a Reality

Some states are not only passing paid family leave but making it more generous for the lowest-paid workers.

The United States has no national guarantee that if someone has a new baby or needs to tend to their own or a family member’s serious injury or illness he can take any paid time off from work. The only guarantee is 12 weeks of unpaid time off through the Family and Medical Leave Act for those who qualify. But states have been moving forward by implementing their own policies, and this year they took a big leap forward—in a matter of weeks, the number of states that guarantee paid family leave jumped by a third. At the end of June, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill establishing a paid family leave program in his state. Then a few days later, the Oregon legislature sent a bill to Governor Kate Brown that will do the same there, which she has said she’ll sign. These two states have followed California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, and Massachusetts, all of which have already passed paid family leave programs. But the victories are more...

How Private Prison Companies Could Get Around a Federal Ban

Structured as real-estate investment trusts, private companies could receive funds to build prisons and lease them to governments for use.

Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo
Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo The Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton, Oklahoma, is owned and operated by the GEO Group. Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren gave the movement against private prison companies a big boost. In another of her flurry of policy proposals as part of her run for the White House in 2020, she put forward a plan that would ban the use of private detention facilities at the federal level. She would also push state and local governments to follow her lead, by conditioning federal public-safety funding on the use of public, not private, facilities. Warren is not the only candidate running for president to get behind the idea. Senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to ban private prisons in 2015, and Senator Kamala Harris , Joe Biden , and Beto O’Rourke have also called for an end to private prisons. Given that it’s a campaign proposal, Warren’s plan doesn’t contain a ton of specifics. But the details of any ban could end up mattering...

Homeless, Hungry, Hung Out to Dry

USDA/Bob Nichols
The sequester—a set of deep, across-the-board cuts to discretionary spending set to take effect if lawmakers cannot agree to a longterm budget deal—was never supposed to happen. But as the deadline for reaching an agreement ticks ever closer, Congress appears hopelessly deadlocked to avoid it. Under the original agreement, sequestration would have triggered $100 billion in cuts to both defense and non-defense discretionary spending on January 1—an 8.2 percent reduction in non-defense expenditures. The “fiscal-cliff” deal reached in December reduced that amount to $85.3 billion and pushed the deadline back to March. Under the new deal, non-defense discretionary spending would be cut by $42.7 billion each year for the next nine years. This is on top of $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade that have already been enacted. The phrase “discretionary spending” may not send chills down the spine, and most of the discussion about spending cuts...

Workers, Not Babysitters

There's still a long way to go to ensure domestic workers have the same protections as other workers, but progress is coming. 

Flickr/brk in bklyn
Some very welcome news may break soon for the domestic workforce: the White House appears to be close to announcing a rule change to the Federal Labor Standards Act, finally including home health aides—those who bathe, nurse, toilet, and care for the elderly and disabled in their homes—in its protections. It may sound out of another century, and it is, but home health care workers had been excluded from federal overtime and minimum wage protections through a companionship exemption. It was designed to leave out only those who provided company, but had become so widely interpreted as to encompass a vital, booming workforce. The administration has long been sitting on the decision to change the rule, but outgoing Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis recently told The Nation , “there’ll be movement on that. We’ll shortly see progress made there.” If and when this change is announced, this workforce will be formally recognized as “workers,” not...