Here's what Democrats plan to do if they win back Washington


Democrats have ambitious plans if they take back the White House and Senate.

Democrats have an ambitious agenda should they win control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate on Tuesday.

The party is focused on lowering health care costs, rebuilding the country's crumbling infrastructure, and rooting out political corruption.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid out Democrats' top legislative priorities at a roundtable event with progressive media outlets last week.

"We feel pretty good, not to be arrogant," Pelosi said during the event, which a reporter from The American Independent Foundation attended.

Pelosi said a unified Congress would start with the same agenda the House passed in 2019, after Democrats won back control of the chamber for the first time in nearly a decade. She noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has blocked House Democrats' agenda at every turn since their midterm sweep in 2018.

Pelosi said first on the Democrats' agenda is passing HR 1, a sweeping anti-corruption bill called the For the People Act. The act would "expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants," according to a summary of the bill.

House lawmakers first passed the anti-corruption bill in March 2019, but McConnell buried the bill in his legislative graveyard when it reached the Senate.

"HR 1 will be first, again, to give people confidence that there can be a change," Pelosi said at the roundtable event. "Whether it's gun safety, whether it's health care, whether it's clean air, whether we're talking about the climate crisis and the rest, that the fossil fuel industry, the gun industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, is not dominating the discussion. It's people."

That will be followed by an infrastructure bill House Democrats passed in June 2020 that would have provided for funding to fix highways and public transit while ensuring environmental safety.

Pelosi said that lowering prescription drug costs and expanding access to health care will also be top priorities, along with voting rights legislation. The latter issue has taken on more salience following concerted efforts by Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party to disenfranchise large swathes of American voters.

Also high on the agenda if Democrats win unified control of Congress is passing the Equality Act, which would enshrine civil rights protections for LGBTQ people. The law would ban discrimination "on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes."

House Democrats passed the Equality Act in May 2019, but McConnell never put the bill up for a vote in the Senate — despite the steady rise in Americans' support for LGBTQ rights.

If Democrats take back control of the White House and Senate, Pelosi said, they will work to quickly pass a $2.2 trillion relief package for Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This plan echoes 2009, when President Barack Obama worked with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate to pass an $832 billion stimulus package in response to the 2008 economic recession.

"We're ready," Pelosi said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.