The Democrats continue to ooze confidence that the party will take control of the House of Representatives in November as Axios revealed the House Democrats already have an agenda for 2019 with health care taking center stage.
The House Democrats have planned three packages: lower health care costs, $1 trillion infrastructure, and reforming ethics and lobbying.
Axios provided what people have said about this agenda:
- “We’re ready from Day 1 to fight for the people,” said an aide involved in the planning. “These priorities took months and months of conversation with members to boil down.”
- The top Democrats on House committees are prepping to launch oversight hearings and investigations of the Trump administration, and have begun the initial steps of coordinating their opening topics to avoid conflicts and overlaps.
- Democrats are playing down talk of impeachment. But depending on the contents of Robert Mueller’s report, that could well become a transcendent issue for the new Congress.
- Democratic leaders have been clear that impeachment isn’t happening unless it’s bipartisan — that Mueller’s findings are definitive, and Republicans voice support for the i-word.
The concentration on health care and infrastructure come from polls, which have shown that those two topics concern voters the most:
- Health care would be divided into two buckets: cost containment, including reining in premiums, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
- The $1 trillion in infrastructure spending would be sold as a way to boost jobs and wages.
Ethics have come to the forefront due to the #MeToo movement, which has led to the outing of sexual assault and sexual harassment accusations among those in Congress. The Washington Post reported that “Congress’ Office of Compliance has paid more than $17 million for 264 settlements and awards to federal employees for violations of various employment rules” since 1997. This includes sexual harassment.
The House Democrats have also promised to make “sweeping lobbying reform” and “change some of their in-house rules.” Pelosi wants to revive the “pay-go” system she had when she served as speaker. This requires “new spending be paid for by budge cuts or revenue offsets.”
House Republicans have started to prepare for a possible switch in November. Axios reported last week that a spreadsheet containing lists of possible investigations Democrats may initiate has found its way around Republican offices and the leadership.
The list also includes “more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress, spanning nearly every committee.” It has “requests for administration officials to be grilled by committee staff, requests for hearings to obtain sworn testimony, efforts to seize communications about controversial policies and personnel decisions, and subpoena threats.”
Basically, it will “turn the Trump White House into a 24/7 legal defense operation.” Lawyers close to the White House told Axios that “the Trump administration is nowhere near prepared for the investigatory onslaught that awaits them, and they consider it among the greatest threats to his presidency.”
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