What The New Dem-Controlled House Should Do Out Of The Gate

Ken AshfordCongress, Democrats, Election 2018, Immigration and Xenophobia, Infrastructure, Political Scandals, Trump & Administration, Voter SuppressionLeave a Comment

Dear Dem-Controlled House and Nancy Pelosi:

Don’t let Trump bait you into go whole hog on investigations of him. That’ll come in time. No talk of impeachment. And let Mueller do his thing.  In the meantime, act for the American people.

The new Democratic House majority should devote its first 100 days to passing five pieces of legislation, then dare the Senate and the Trump White House to follow suit or be called out for their refusal to act.

First, a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 and restore Trump-repealed rules protecting overtime pay.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.

If these bills fail in the Senate and/or Trump won’t sign them, great. That’s political fodder. If they pass, even better.