Friday, November 09, 2018

What Should The House Democratic Majority Do Now ?

(This map is from The New York Times.)

The election is over, and the final votes are being counted. The one thing that is not in doubt is that the Democrats will control the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress. Right now, they have 225 seats to 197 seats for the Republicans, and it is looking like the final total will probably be 230 seats for the Democrats and 205 seats for the Republicans. It only takes 218 to be the majority party in the House.

The question now is -- What should the Democrats do with their new majority in the House?

Ronald A. Klain has written an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he talks about what the Democrats should and should not do.

Klain says the Democrats should not issue any subpoenas or quickly initiate any investigations into the Trump administration. I disagree. Trump has had two years of a Republican white wash, and it's time to do some serious and honest investigations. That's why the Democrats were given that majority by the voters. Most voters want to know just how corrupt Trump's administration is.

But while I disagree with Klain on what the Democrats should do regarding investigations, I think is is right on target when it comes to what the Democrats should do with legislation.

Klain lists five pieces of legislation the House Dems should pass and send to the Senate -- and they are all things that should be done. They are also things that would reflect very badly on Senate Republicans if they vote against them, and would hurt Trump if he vetoed them.

Here are the five pieces of legislation House Democrats should pass in the first 100 days:

First, a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 and restore Trump-repealed rules protecting overtime pay. Democrats should show their support for hard-working people who are doing everything right and still not earning enough to live on. During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to support a minimum-wage increase; on the eve of the 2018 election, his chief economic adviser proposed abolishing the law altogether. Democrats should find out where the president and the Trump-dominated Senate really stand.

Second, legislation to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, expand its coverage and patch up the gaps that the Trump administration has punched in it. Put aside the big debate over comprehensively changing the system for later; deliver on the core promise of most Democratic campaigns in 2018.
Third, a bill to restore the Voting Rights Act and reverse Republican voter-suppression efforts. The cause of democracy should not be carried by Democrats alone, but that is what it has come to. The greatest democracy in the world should not be the one where it is hardest to participate in the democratic process.

Fourth, a simple, non-porked-up infrastructure bill, with funding for bridges and roads, airports and mass transit, clean-energy projects and new schools. Avoid the complexity and exotica that — while good policy — ultimately made the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act bad politics. If it doesn’t employ workers in hard hats, it isn’t “infrastructure” for this purpose.

And finally, a clean bill, free of extraneous issues, that grants legal status to the immigrant children known as “dreamers.” Trump has promised to sign such a bill; it’s time to end the uncertainty of these young people, who have so much to contribute.

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