Just the Facts
Five Facts on What Democrats Plan to do with Their Majority in the House
By No Labels
November 8, 2018 | Blog
Democrats were able to take back control of the House on Tuesday after eight years in the minority. Here are five facts on what Democrats plan to do with their House majority.
Overhaul government rules
House Democrats have long pledged to make the rules governing how legislation passes through the House more open and equal. One of the most promising rules reforms packages comes from the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, whose Break the Gridlock proposal calls for more bills with open amendments, fast tracking bills with broad bipartisan support, and guaranteeing that every member is able to propose at least one bill if they are able to get a member of the opposite party to sign on. So far, 14 Democrats– a figure that includes current Caucus members and some newly elected members—have vowed they will withhold their vote for speaker until these reforms are agreed to.
Following President Trump’s decision to overturn the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by his predecessor Barack Obama, he urged Congress to work out a legislative fix to the issue. However, the Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate were unable to come to a consensus on what a fix would look like. Democrats are sure to make one.of their top priorities the DREAM Act, which would provide legal status with an earned path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. However, many Democrats have acknowledged that it will be difficult to get the DREAM Act through the Republican-controlled Senate.
Investigate President Trump
For the past two years Democrats have sharply criticized their Republican counterparts for a lack of congressional oversight of President Trump. On issues ranging from alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, to claims that the president and his family are benefitting financially from the office of the presidency, Democrats have charged that no meaningful investigations have been completed. Now that Democrats have taken control of the House look for them to re-open the House investigation into these areas and to try to force the president to release his tax returns.
Shore up the Affordable Care Act
Health care was the top issue for Democrats on the campaign trail as they warned that two more years of Republican control of the government could result in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the loss of protections for those with pre-existing conditions. However, it is unclear what path Democrats will take in the House following their victory. Some are advocating for improving upon the Affordable Care Act and adding a public insurance option to compete with private sector plans while others are pushing for government-run systems like Medicare for All. However, this is another area where it will be very hard for Democrats to pass a bill that will become law, as it will be certain to face opposition from the Senate and the White House.
Invest in infrastructure
Infrastructure is perhaps the best opportunity for cooperation between the Democratic House and Republican Senate and the president. Investing in the country’s roads, bridges, and airports was a central theme of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and is an issue that Democrats are also interested in. Smart government investments in infrastructure can provide new jobs and bring new economic investment into newly improved and accessible areas. The main point of contention is likely to be how much the government spends on infrastructure improvements and how much the private sector can be leveraged to invest in infrastructure.